On 27 October the world lost a unique musical voice with the passing of Terry Callier.
Born Terrence Orlando Callier on 24 May 1945, the singer cut his first record for the Chess label while still in high school before gravitating to folk music as a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the early 1960s.
His debut album, The New Folk Sounds of Terry Callier, was recorded in 1964 but not released until 1968 by the Prestige label. While not a major hit, it established a small cult following for Callier, especially amongst folk purists who respected his interpretation of traditional songs like “900 Miles,” “Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?” and “Cotton Eyed Joe.”
Callier’s sophomore release, 1972’s Occasional Rain, was his first of three albums for the Cadet label and found him incorporating elements of jazz and classical music for a sound dubbed as “baroque soul.” 1973’s What Color is Love continued this trend while including elements of rock and funk.
Callier cut three more albums in the 1970s before taking time away from music for all of the 80s and much of the 90s. His comeback studio recording, 1998’s TimePeace, was released by Verve and was followed by several more albums for the labels Universal and Mr. Bongo. Callier won a sizeable U.K. following late in his career via collaborations with Paul Weller, Massive Attack and Beth Orton.
Terry Callier is survived by his daughter, Sundiata “Sunny” Callier-Dullum.