"My first reaction to being told that I had been named by the NEA an all time Jazz Master was to rejoice over my long decision to pursue the musical standards established by Dizzy Gillespie and his fellow found fathers of modern jazz. My second reaction was to give vent to joy over being worthy of the biblical vision that says, 'One skilled in their work will become stationed before Kings.' Under it all, I was saddened my wife of 45 years having not lived to see the unfailing support and encouragement she gave every facet of my life, being reward[ed] by the NEA."
Tom McIntosh 2008
Though not well known outside of jazz circles, the unique voice of composer and arranger Tom "Mac" McIntosh made him a favorite of Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Milt Jackson, and Tommy Flanagan, among other jazz giants. McIntosh was born and raised in Baltimore. After a stint with the Army, he attended Juilliard and later became an active participant in the New York jazz scene as a trombone player and composer.
He was a member of the famous Jazztet, formed by Benny Golson and Art Farmer, and was one of the founders of the New York Jazz Sextet. Many outstanding New York-based instrumentalists of the 1950s and '60s migrated in and out of the band, including Thad Jones, Art Farmer, James Moody, Tommy Flanagan, Roland Hanna, and Richard Davis. McIntosh and Moody have a long history of friendship and collaboration that dates to the 1950s when McIntosh played and wrote for Moody's bands and provided arrangements for some of Moody's 1960s recordings.
He also wrote and arranged for Milt Jackson, including his And the Hip String Quartet album, and was a favorite of Dizzy Gillespie, who featured three of McIntosh's songs on his Something Old, Something New recording. McIntosh was an original member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, to which he contributed songs and arrangements. He was also much admired by Tommy Flanagan, who often noted that McIntosh was his favorite composer, recording several of his songs.
When jazz's popularity waned towards the end on the 1960s, McIntosh went to Hollywood as a film composer for two Gordon Parks' films, The Learning Tree and Shaft. He remained in California for the next 20 years as a music director for films and TV. Finally tiring of Hollywood, McIntosh returned to the East Coast in the 1990s, teaching at various conservatories, including as music director of the Thelonious Monk Institute at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also continued to write music. In 2004, he released his first recording under his own name (at the age of 77), with a second volume of his works forthcoming.
James Moody, Hey! It's James Moody, Argo/Lone Hill Jazz, 1956-59
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