Eric Myers reviews The Lion Roars


The Lion Roars: The Musical Life of Willie ‘The Lion’ McIntyre
By Phil Sandford
Self-published, 214pp, $22
Eric Myers, The Australian, 3-4 November 2018
Phil Sandford’s The Lion Roars is a reminder of how vibrant the
Melbourne jazz scene was in the late 30s and early 40s, as an
unprecedented generation of talented young musicians emerged.
Strong personalities, they created a sub-culture with such capital that,
in the immediate post-World War II years, jazz was first cab off the
rank in taking Australian music, indeed Australiana, to the rest of the
world. Here we are primarily talking about the overseas exploits of
Graeme Bell and his Australian Jazz Band. To some extent that’s
another story.
Pianist and singer Willie “The Lion” McIntyre, a mere footnote in
many previous accounts, has now been fleshed out in commendable
detail. He was not an innovator, says Sandford, but “a consolidator of
stride and boogie woogie piano styles who generated enormous
rhythmic drive and joy, but also expressed the pain and suffering of
the blues.” See full review