Update: The Chicago Sun-Times remembers a native son:
Early reports of his death filtered through music websites including Stereogum, which said, “Like England’s Nick Drake, the Chicago-based Callier was largely overlooked for much of his artistic prime.”
As well, The Guardian‘s story on Terry Callier:
Born in the Chicago projects, Callier was a childhood friend of Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, and began singing in doo-wop groups in his teens. Later he became a fixture on the city’s coffee house scene, releasing a debut album titled The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier in 1968. In the early 70s he released three critically celebrated “jazz-folk” albums and toured with George Benson and Gil Scott-Heron, but he had abandoned music for a job as a computer programmer at the University of Chicago until a new generation rediscovered his work in the early 90s.
As well, a Facebook post from someone claiming to be his great niece says he died after a long illness:
This page is so heart-warming. I’m Terry Callier’s great niece. I regret to inform you all who really seemed to love him and his music that after a lengthy illness, my Uncle T has passed away.
Callier recorded his album, The New Folk Sound, under the influence of Coltrane, using two upright basses and two acoustic guitars to create a unique sound. The record would probably have been a hit but for the fact that its producer, Samuel Charters, took the tapes of The New Folk Sound on a voyage of self-discovery into the North American desert, where he lived with the Yaki Indians for the next three years. The album was finally released on Prestige in 1968, and Callier only knew about it after his brother saw it in a Chicago antiques store. “I went in, bought the album, and took it home. Then I decided to make another go of it.”
Here’s Callier’s debut album, The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, which opens with the astounding “900 Miles”.
Some recent collaborations:
And a couple songs that sample Callier: