Influential folk-soul singer Terry Callier has passed away at the age of 67.
Like England’s Nick Drake, the Chicago-based Callier was largely overlooked for much of his artistic prime; between 1968 and 1979, he released a handful of excellent and essential albums that blended jazz, folk, soul, and pop, including his debut, The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier, 1972’s Occasional Rain, ’73’s What Color Is Love, and ’74’s I Just Can’t Help Myself (all of which would appeal to fans of Nick Drake’s music, too). However, Callier had difficulty finding a commercial foothold, and after being juggled (and dropped) by several labels, he effectively retired from music in the early ’80s, taking a job as a computer programmer and pursuing a sociology degree at night.
In the ’90s, however, Callier was rediscovered: In 1991, the Acid Jazz label re-released Callier’s overlooked 1983 single “I Don’t Want To See Myself (Without You)” to significant success. In ’97, Beth Orton worked with Callier on her Best Bit EP. Soon after, Callier returned to music in earnest with Timepeace, his first major-label release in almost 20 years (released on the jazz label Verve). Callier continued to release new music through the aughts. His final album, 2009’s Hidden Conversations, was written and produced with Massive Attack.
Callier was reportedly found dead at his home on October 28, 2012.
Listen to a few notable Callier collaborations (with Massive Attack, Orton [my personal favorite], and Paul Weller) below. And do check out all the aforementioned Callier releases, which are truly outstanding. He’ll be missed.