Sad to hear the news that Soul and jazz singer Terry Callier has died. I was part of the second wave of Callier fans who were introduced to the The 67-year-old songwriter’s music, during a belated period of success in his career during the early 90′s after working with acts like Massive Attack and Beth Orton.
Callier was born in the Chicago projects and as a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield, he began singing in doo-wop groups in his teens. Releasing a debut album titled The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier in 1968, he went on to release three critically celebrated “jazz-folk” albums and toured with George Benson and Gil Scott-Heron.
In 1983 Callier was awarded custody of his daughter and (although it still seems almost crazy to say it), he abandoned music, went back to college and acquired a job as a computer programmer at the University of Chicago, where in the evening’s he studied for a degree in sociology.
In 1998 he released the album Timepeace, which won the United Nations’ Time For Peace award for outstanding artistic achievement contributing to world peace.
It says something so fresh about the man that his colleagues at the University of Chicago did not know of his life as a musician, but after the award the news of his work became widely known and subsequently led to his dismissal by the University.
If you have ears…., track down his first album ‘The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier’ and defo listen to his collaboration with Massive Attack, ‘Hidden Conversations’ here.
Peace out Terry.