Terry Callier, 1945-2012
I came across the music of Terry Callier in 1997. Beth Orton had released the 'Best Bit' EP and when I met her to discuss, she talked warmly about the man and his sweet contribution to her music. He was from Chicago and he had released a series of beautiful recordings, blending jazz and folk and soul. His voice was the greatest thing, imbued with intelligence, heart and a kind of dignity that was hard to define.
His career was a mangle of unfortunate business deals and personal pain. By the time Beth got in touch, he was virtually out of the business, getting his family life together and retraining in computers. But the story would not lie. Paul Weller was also an evangelist while the acid jazz set, led by Eddie Piller was also intent on bringing the man across the Atlantic for reverential gigs at venues like the Jazz Café. So he became a kind of secret hero in Hoxton, a friend of 4Hero and Massive Attack, a totem of pure music rather than the venal mess of the music biz. I'll play a few of his tunes, with feeling, tonight.