Terry Callier lines up UK tour date
Warm and beautiful soul jazz veteran
He was an old schoolfriend of Curtis Mayfield, a touring buddy of Gil Scott-Heron and, in the days when he was starting out in the clubs of his native Chicago, he saw John Coltrane play. Yet the first two decades of Terry Callier’s life in music weren’t so rewarding, and he even left the business for a time in 1983 and embraced a life of academia (some accounts say as a student of sociology, others have it that he became a professor of computer programming). Yet this was just another stop in his nomadic career, one which we might describe as enigmatic were it not for the sheer warmth and beauty of his music.
Raised on a poor social housing project in the north side of the city during the 1940s and 50s, Callier passed the audition for his first single to be released by Chess Records in 1964. Shortly thereafter, he would sign with Prestige Records for his debut album The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, although it was a string of records released by Cadet in the 70s that would cement his reputation. The tender and dreamy What Color is Love (1973) was probably the pick of the lot, and it would go on to be a favourite again when the UK’s Acid Jazz crew rediscovered its singer in a big way during the 1990s.
Having recorded with Beth Orton during her halcyon days, Callier released his first album in 20 years, Timepeace, in 1998. Since then, five records over the next decade culminating (so far) in last year’s Hidden Conversations have added range to an artist whose soulful style transcends fads and fashions. This show should be a timeless treat.
Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 30 Sep.