Six years on from the release of their last album, '100th Window,' and just weeks…
- Posted on Oct 29th 2012 5:30PM by Jason MacNeil
Fabrice Coffrini, AFP
Mr Bongo, the label Callier worked with for most of the past decade, confirmed Callier's passing.
Callier was born in Chicago and was a childhood friend of the late Curtis Mayfield as well as Jerry Butler, singing in doo woo groups in his teens. From there Callier played the coffee house circuit and released his 1968 debut The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier. Callier also was signed to Chess as a teenager, releasing the single "Look at Me Now."
In an 2002 interview with British music journalist Angus Batey which ran in The Times Magazine, Callier said seeing John Coltrane live had a huge influence on him.
"They came on, tuned up a little bit and started playing with the intensity most people save for the last number on the last night," he said. "You could taste it: the good, the bad, the ugly -- heaven, hell, whatever's in between, this world and the next world -- all of that was in this first song."
In the early '70s Callier released three solo albums which were critically acclaimed. However, that critical success didn't translate into commercial results, leaving the musician without a label after 1975's I Just Can't Help Myself album. In the early '80s, Callier was out of music completely, working as a computer programmer at the University of Chicago for a period of time while supporting his children.
But in the early '90s, his early solo material was picked up on by London's club scene, and musicians such as Massive Attack and Beth Orton wanted to work with Callier. He then appeared on Orton's Best Bit EP in 1997 and shortly thereafter released his own solo album Timepeace. Callier was quite surprised by the recognition he was receiving in Britain.
"I was stunned," he said in The Times Magazine interview. "They were telling me that people were spending 60, 70, 80, a hundred pounds? I said, 'You're kidding me!' I had no idea. I was very happy programming computers."
In 2009 Callier released his last studio effort Hidden Conversations, but garnered more attention to a new generation of music fans in 2006 by performing on the Massive Attack song "Live With Me."
News of Callier's passing caused an influx of musicians to lament his death, including Orton and many others.
"The world has lost a beautiful voice," The Charlatans singer Tim Burgess tweeted. "Rest in peace Terry Callier."
"This was one of the best nights of my life," Beth Orton tweeted with a video link. "Such a privilege and joy - RIP dear Terry Callier."
Callier's funeral will take place on Saturday (Nov. 3) in his home city with a memorial planned for London. There's no date confirmed for that.