Terry Callier grew up in Chicago and was a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield. He began his recording career in the mid sixties but took a lengthy sabbatical from music to raise his daughter, working in I.T. while he was away from the music industry.
His comeback in the early nineties was championed by Eddie Piller in London, head of Acid Jazz records and Russ Dewbury in Brighton, organiser of the seminal Brighton Jazz Bops. Since then, Mr. Callier has been touring and releasing albums fairly regularly and it’s his latest album “Hidden Conversations” on Mr. Bongo records that he’s showcasing tonight.
He always plays in the UK with the same band of seasoned jazz and funk musicians including Brighton’s Dave Barnard on bass (who put this band together for Mr. Callier in 1994) and Jim Mullen, one of the UK’s best jazz guitarists who has toured with the Average White Band amongst others.
The new songs already sound like vintage Terry Callier, maybe because he never strays too far from his folk and jazz roots so you know what you’re getting. Having previously worked with Bluey from Incognito, Beth Orton and Paul Weller, Terry Callier is not adverse to collaborations with fans of his music. This new album features production duties and writing contributions from 3D of Massive Attack. The production sound ranges from lush ambient melody driven arrangements though to darker sparse beats that compliment Mr. Callier’s rootsy style of guitar playing.
One of his new songs “Rice and Beans” is about Hurricane Katrina and has the hallmarks of becoming a classic. Another song “Wings” is almost Gospel sounding and shows the spiritual side that has always been a part of Terry Callier’s work.
So this gig is a great showcasing of new material plus some of the classics that Terry Callier is more well known for. A perfect example of this being a version of his all time great song “Ordinary Joe” that he finishes with as an encore. Always worth going to see and definitely worth discovering if you’ve never heard of him, Terry Callier must be relishing this on-going resurrection of his career. I hope he doesn’t return to I.T. any time soon 🙂