Ken McIntyre

The Complete United Artists Sessions

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Ken McIntyre, a very underrated multi-reedist, developed fairly original styles on alto, flute, bass clarinet, oboe and bassoon. He made two fairly well-known sessions for New Jazz in 1960 and recorded for SteepleChase from 1974-78. However, McIntyre's pair of United Artists records from 1962-63 (his only dates as a leader during 1961-73) have been long overlooked. This double CD from 1997 has all of the music from the original LPs, plus eight previously unreleased cuts. All of the selections except "Laura" and "Speak Low" are McIntyre compositions. The advanced hard bop originals (which show the influence of the avant-garde) tend to be complex, sometimes using tricky time signatures, and lack memorable melodies, but they swing. The leader mostly plays his dry-toned alto, with a bit of flute and oboe, and with the exception of a few spots by pianist Jaki Byard, the backup musicians are mostly supportive and do not stand out. One set has McIntyre and a pianoless rhythm section joined by a dozen strings. His string writing is inventive and shows some otherwise unrealized potential. The other selections are either with a quartet or a quintet (the latter with trombonist John Mancebo Lewis). This obscure but stimulating set grows in interest with each listen.

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