Trombonist, composer and arranger Tom (Mac) 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 writer. Upon the death of Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington asked McIntosh to be his assistant.
He was a member of the famous Jazztet organized by NEA Jazz Masters Benny Golson and Art Farmer, and was one of the founders of the New York Jazz Sextet. Many outstanding NY-based instrumentalists of the 1950's and '60's migrated in and out of the band including Thad Jones, Art Farmer, James Moody, Tommy Flanagan, Roland Hanna, Richard Davis and others. McIntosh and James 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 best 1960's recordings.
He also wrote for Milt Jackson, including his Hip String Quartet album, and was a favorite of Dizzy Gillespie, who featured his tunes on his Something Old - Something New recording. McIntosh was an original member of the Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra and contributed one of its most memorable tunes and arrangements, Balanced Scales Equal Justice. He was also much admired by Tommy Flanagan, who often noted that McIntosh was his favorite composer.
When jazz's popularity waned towards the end on the 1960's, McIntosh went to Hollywood as a film composer for two Gordon Parks' films, The Learning Tree and Shaft. He remained in there 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 1990's, teaching at conservatories including the Theolonius Monk Institute at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also continued to write music.