trombonist, tubaist, arranger, composer, educator EARL McINTYRE is above all a family man.  although we know each other longer than do his children, i am proud to be family; my wife, vocalist, percussionist Fran McIntyre, is Earl’s cousin.  Earl teaches at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  it was there that he premiered his initial CD foray as leader.

the CD, entitled BRASS CARNIVAL & TRIBUTE!, features a brass band consisting of  tubas, trombones, trumpets, french horns and rhythm, also separates a small ensemble, TRIBUTE!, which plays original material by McIntyre in dedication to his multifarious musical and extended families.  McIntyre’s father, mother, uncles and aunts, Salvation Army Band Veterans all, played a variety of brass.  his wife, vocalist, educator Renée Manning, demonstrates her own brand of brassiness, the blues.

an Irish-Scottish jig-step away of the families McIntyre clans –there are several– eminates from the Caribbean so there’s more than enough rhythmic diversity in the admixture.  Earl, himself a veteran of various brass sections, has blown mean tuba and bass trombone in groups such as the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis –now the Vanguard– Jazz Orchestras, the Charles Mingus Big Band, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, George Gruntz’s Concert Jazz Band, Howard Johnson’s Gravity, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones, Taj Mahal’s band, and was a first call, when there were studios to call.  his charts appear on all of the recordings of the aforementioned.

McIntyre’s  cohorts are the heavyweight hornists Howard Johnson, Dave Bargeron, Joe Daley, Bob Stewart, and ‘boneman Sam Burtis who sometimes doubles on tuba as he did at the BCM.  the french horn section blossomed from his time with Thad & Mel.  Thad loved the colors from flugelhorns, a tuba-like-bore trumpet, and he had experimented with several hornists over the years.  on Brass Carnival they are Vincent Chancey, John Clark and Mark Taylor.  David Amram, a french hornist himself, conducted.

Earl & Renée met, as did he and i, during the Vanguard era, she in front of the band me in the kitchen “green room” in the mid 1970s.

the Tribute! ensemble which was featured at BCM included Chancey, Burtis, Jim Seely, trumpet and flugelhorn, Tommy Campbell, drums, Warren Smith, vibes and tambourine and McIntyre.  the selections each had a “family” story attached which served as preludes: Come Sunday for trombonist Britt Woodman, who was featured with Duke Ellington, Shapeshifter for Lester Bowie for whose various incarnations Earl wrote, JJ’s Whology, for J.J. Johnson, We Shall Rest With the Lord for Aunt Ruby, Earl’s mom.  in addition to those above the group offered Sunnyside of the Street –on the CD re-dubbed Please Remain on the Positive Side of the Solar Panel– a humorous derangement –not the original changes– as Uncle Eldon, Earl’s dad, played them [confirmed by Fran], Hot Sun In the Summertime for Sly Stone, and Pericles and the Lion.

the Tribute! Live band sounded as though it could have used a couple of  more rehearsals.  the soli were on the money but the noses-in-the-scores ensemble passages were a bit too ragged for me.  knowing Earl, for him as well.  i’m sure the audience hardly noticed.  it was the spirit which shone through.

the CD, however, is a solid gass!  the latin-ed jazz, the various Caribbean and African rhythms are all clearly delineated.  their titles tell the tales like Witches Samba, Here’s to Highlife, Second Line Soca/Brudda Singh and Rivals.  Manning’s All I Have To Give and You’re Hot (& I Like It A Lot), sung at BCM as well as on the CD have her imprimatur: joyously melodic and filled with bonhomie.

additional standout solosts: trumpeters Seneca Black on Highlife, Kenny Rampton, on Come Sunday, Lew Soloff on Soca, Stanton Davis on Pericles;   Warren Smith vibes on Whology, Victor See Yuen djembe on Highlife, and the tubas, euphoniums, horns “all ovah de plee-as” (excuse that attempt at Island-ese.)

[author’s note: Vinnie Johnson, Earl and Renée’s regular drummer, who is featured on the TrIbtute! tracks and solos on Whology, passed during 2012.  R.I.P. bro.] 

-  © arnold jay smith March 2013

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