Friday, August 03, 2007

Interview to Terry Callier



After meet him in Milan and get back to him at Jazz Cafe in London , Mr Terry Callier pleased me with this interview that confirm Callier as a Great musician and a Great man.
Thanks Terry .







Wich were your favoutrites musicians in the beginning , who influenced more your taste and style ?


In the very beginning I was influences by doo-wah (sometimes referred to as 'doo-wop' ) groups like Sonny Til and the Orioles, the Spaniels,  the Ravens, the Diamonds, The 4 Seasons and gospel artists like the Soul Stirers with Sam Cooke, Sister Rosetta Thorpe and Rev. James Cleveland.  After I started listnening to jazz, my favorites were John Coltrane, Miles, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Oscar Peterson, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles and many, many others.


When you met Charles Stepney from Chess records Terry Callier thing started , how did you met him ? and how it was important for the starting of your career .
 
I first met Charles Stepney at a recording session for Chess records.  He was the arranger for a group of singles that included "Look At Me Now".   The producer was Esmond Edwards and the musicians included Paul Serrano on trumpet and Phil Upchurch on guitar.  It was my first recording session and more or less set the tone for the rest of my career.
Then with Prestige Records your first album "New Folk Sound of Terry Callier "....
I was playing at a club in Chicago called 'Mother Blues' and the owner of the spot introduced me to a producer from Prestige Records names Sam Charters.  He asked me if I was ready to do an album and naturally I said I was.  He told me the budget would be small but I could use two other musicians.  I had been listening to a lot of early Coltrane on record where he had experimented with two bass players and I told Sam that was what I wanted to do.  So the instrumentation on "New Folk Sound" was acoustic guitar, vocals and two acoustic bass players.


In 1973 Occasional Rain started a kind of Folk-Jazz thing , how this blend did born ?
 
Again, this was influenced by Coltrane.  He had passed away by this time and I was listening to a lot of Miles Davis, so he was also influential in terms allowing musicians to play what they felt and approaching the music as a group project.


"Orinary Joe" and "Look at me now " are 2 songs that are very" Callier ", please can you tell me some things happened during the writing , recording of these 2 great songs ?
I mean the feeling , the vibe ...
 
"Look At Me Now" was among the first songs that I recordsd for Chess records.  I had been writing songs since I was 13 years old and this was one that the Chess brothers liked.  I was trying to convince my mother that a career in music wouldn't be so bad and I was more or less talking directily to her . . . "Well my mama thinks that I just fake it -- 'Cause I do things she don't understand ..."  Eventually she did
accept the fact that I wasn't going to be a doctor or lawyer.

 "Ordinary Joe" took me the longest time to write of any other song that ever happened to me.  I was carrying the main riff around for three or four years before I had a clue as to what it was going to be about o what it was going to say.  Then one day it just fell on me line by line.  I didn't know what the title was until the last verse had written itself.  I never like to say I wrote this or that because that's not the way it goes down.  Songs just seem to happen to me or more accurately are presented to me from the Creative Source.  I wish I could say more about it but I truly can't . . .

In 1975's I Just Can't Help Myself was le last record with Cadet , than you passed with Electra under the head of Don Mizell .
Wich were the differences of Callier sound betwen this two labels ?

 
The first ablum recorded for Elektra ("Fire on Ice") was a continuation of what I had done with Charles Stepney at Chess.  The second album ("Turn You To Love") had a disco influence and one track "Sign of the Times" made the Billboard charts and was used as a them by Frankie Crocker, a well-respected and popular DJ who was broadcasting from New York.


After Electra experience you desapear untill somebody , in 1991 called you to ask the permission to reissue "I Don't Want to See Myself (Without You)" (1983 ).
Acid Jazz movement were born and your new career too .
What can you tell me about this thing , were you surprised ?


I stopped performing in 1983 in order to take care of my daughter.  She called me from California and told me she wanted to live with me in Chicago.  There was no way I could refuse and I knew that music wouldn't provide the kind of things I wanted her to have.  I attended a computer training school (Control Data Institute in Chicago) and eventually was hired as a temporary employee at the University of Chicago.  They made me a staff employee in '85 with paid vacations, healthe insurance and most of the things a single parent needed.
 
I was at my desk a few years later and received a call from Eddie Piller of Acid Jazz Records in London.  He tolld me that "I Don't Want to See Myself Without You" was being played around the UK and asked if we could re-issue the disk.  It took a while for him to convince me it was a genuine offer and we worked out an agreement to put the song out in the UK.  To my suprise, it proved to be quite popular and led to concerts and glub gigs in the UK and Eurpoe.
Then you started touring , recording and collaborations with lots of musicians and DJ 's ...
The first artist I worked with was Beth Orton.  Then there was 4Hero, Zero Seven, Koop, Ian Poole, Paul Weller - - - I'm forgetting some important names here and I apologize for that.


What you think about this rebirth of 60's and 70's Jazzy music started in late 80's ?


Remixes of jazz recordings from the 60's and 70's exposed that music to a new generation and did the music and the people a lot of good.  There's almost always a method of updating good sounds so they can be appreciated by new listeners.

Whats your plan for the future ?

The future is difficult to see.  I'd like a chance to release new forms of music with new ideas including Jazz, R&B, trip-hop and hip-hop influences.  Hopefully, this will take place soon.  Thank you for the interest . . .

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