Born in Brooklyn, Earl McIntyre received his first musical training from his father, who saw to it that the entire family became proficient at playing brass instruments. While attending the High School of Music & Art, he studied trombone with John Clark, Jack Jeffers, Alan Raph and Benny Powell, and developed relationships with composer William S Fischer and tuba player Howard Johnson. At Mannes College of Music, he studied bass trombone with Simone Karasick and tuba with Thompson Hanks. Later he studied arranging with Slide Hampton and Bob Brookmeyer. Since then, in a wide-ranging career, Earl has played with Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, The Band, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, the Count Basie and Ellington orchestras, and David Amram and Renée Manning among others.