McIntyre was born in Clarksville, Arkansas but his family moved to Chicago when he was a child. He began playing drums at seven, then switched to saxophone. He studied at the Chicago College of Music, and during the 1960s began playing with musicians such as Malachi Favors, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Roscoe Mitchell. Along with them he became a member of the ensemble Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in the mid-1960s. His first solo record appeared in 1969. During this time he also recorded as a session musician for Delmark Records, playing with George Freeman, J.B. Hutto, and Little Milton, among others.
McIntyre moved to New York City in the 1970s, playing at Sam Rivers' Riveba Studios and teaching at Karl Berger's Creative Studio. He and Muhal Richard Abrams toured Europe several times. After his 1981 live album, McIntyre recorded very little, playing on the streets and in the subways of New York. His next major appearance on record wasn't until 1998, with Pheeroan akLaff and Michael Logan; the following year, he played with many of his old AACM ensemble-mates (Joseph Jarman, Malachi Favors, Steve Colson, Kahil El Zabar) on the album Bright Moments. He has continued to release as a leader into the 2000s.
* Humility in the Light of the Creator (Delmark Records, 1969)
* Forces and Feelings (Delmark Records, 1970)
* Peace and Blessings (Black Saint Records, 1979)
* Ram's Run (Cadence Jazz, 1981)
* Dream Of… (CIMP, 1998)
* South Eastern (CIMP, 2002)
* The Moment (Entropy Stereo, 2003)
* Morning Song (Delmark, 2004)
* Paths to Glory (CIMP, 2004)
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