Wood in 1969
|Birth name||Christopher Gordon Blandford Wood|
|Born||24 June 1944|
Quinton, Birmingham, United Kingdom
|Died||12 July 1983 39) (aged|
Birmingham, United Kingdom
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion|
|Associated acts||Shades of Blue, Locomotive, Traffic, Mason Capaldi Wood & Frog, Dr. John, Ginger Baker's Air Force|
Christopher Gordon Blandford Wood (24 June 1944 – 12 July 1983) was a British rock musician, most known as a founding member of the British rock band Traffic, along with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Dave Mason.
Born in Quinton,a suburb of Birmingham, Chris Wood had an interest in music and painting from early childhood. Self-taught on flute and saxophone, which he began playing at the age of 15, he began to play locally with other Birmingham musicians who would later find international fame in music: Christine Perfect (later Christine McVie), Carl Palmer, Stan Webb, and Mike Kellie. Wood played with Perfect in 1964 in the band Shades of Blue and with Kellie during 1965–1966 in the band Locomotive.
He attended the Stourbridge College of Art,then the Birmingham School of Art (Painting Dept.) and subsequently was awarded a grant to attend the Royal Academy of Art starting in December 1965.
Aged 18, Wood joined the Steve Hadley Quartet, a jazz/blues group in 1962.His younger sister Stephanie designed clothes for the Spencer Davis Group, based in Birmingham, and it was through her that Wood was first introduced to fellow Birmingham native Steve Winwood. A well-known Birmingham club, the Elbow Room, was an after-hours haunt of local bands and musicians and it was here that Wood used to meet up with Winwood and Jim Capaldi. At the age of 18, Winwood abandoned the Spencer Davis Group at the height of their popularity and, along with Wood, Capaldi, and Dave Mason, formed Traffic.
To focus his fledgling band, Island Records' founder Chris Blackwell arranged for the four to retreat to an isolated farmhouse on the Berkshire Downs near Aston Tirrold. Initially without electricity, telephone or running water, The Cottage (as it became universally known) was so remote that a generator had to be installed to power the group's equipment. A concrete outdoor stage was built with the band's stage equipment set up to overlook the surrounding fields. After six months honing their music, Traffic released their first single, "Paper Sun".
In Traffic, Wood primarily played flute and saxophone, occasionally contributing keyboards, bass and vocals. Wood also co-wrote several of Traffic's songs, particularly during the earlier period of the band's recording career. His most notable contribution is as the co-writer (with Winwood and Capaldi), of "Dear Mr. Fantasy".
Wood introduced the 17th century traditional song "John Barleycorn" to the band after hearing it on The Watersons album Frost and Fire.[ citation needed ] It became the title song of their 1970 album, "John Barleycorn Must Die."
Wood played with Jimi Hendrix in 1968, appearing on Electric Ladyland . When Winwood temporarily formed supergroup Blind Faith in 1969, Wood, Mason and Capaldi joined Mick Weaver otherwise known as Wynder K Frog, to become Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog.He then went on to tour the United States with Dr. John, where he met singer Jeanette Jacobs (formerly of the 1960s girl group The Cake). Wood and Jacobs married in November 1972, at Kensington Registry Office, when he was 28 and she was 22.
In 1969, Wood also appeared on the eponymous second album of Free and the Small Faces' The Autumn Stone . In 1970, Wood and his wife, along with Steve Winwood, joined Ginger Baker's Air Force, releasing one album before reforming Traffic. Wood remained with Traffic from the time of its 1970 reformation until its 1974 breakup. He played on John Martyn's Inside Out (1973). Throughout Traffic's life, Chris was also in demand as a session musician with his immediately identifiable flute or saxophone playing cropping up on albums by Rebop Kwaku Baah, Tyrone Downie, Fat Mattress, Gordon Jackson, Crawler, The Sky, Bobby Whitlock and others.
Through much of his life, Wood suffered from addiction to drugs and alcohol, which were initially attributed to a fear of flying.His wife was unfaithful while he was on tour, leading to an increased drinking, culminating in liver disease. He cut down on drinking, but his medication caused further complications. His wife Jeanette, from whom he had separated, died in 1982, at the age of 31, from the effects of a seizure. Wood was profoundly affected by her death.
The death of two close friends, Free’s Paul Kossoff and former bandmate Rebop Kwaku Baah followed by that of his (by then, estranged) wife laid very heavy on Wood.
In 1983, Wood died of pneumonia at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England.
At the time, he was working on a solo album that was to be titled Vulcan, and had recorded material for the album over the previous few years, mostly in London at Island's Hammersmith Studio, The Fall Out Shelter, with engineer Terry Barham, as well as at Pathway Studios in London.Following Wood's death, the Vulcan recordings remained in the possession of Wood's sister, Stephanie. In 2008, with the consent of Stephanie Wood a CD titled Vulcan, consisting of selected material Wood recorded while working on the incomplete album (plus an unreleased Traffic live performance of one of Wood's compositions), was released by Esoteric Recordings.
Traffic recorded one additional studio album, Far from Home (1994), after Wood's death. The album is dedicated to him, and the central figure on its front cover is a stick figure of a man playing flute.
In June 2013, on Wood's 69th birthday, the Chris Wood Estate (run by his sister, Stephanie) announced that a commemorative box set was being prepared – in collaboration with contemporary music archivists HiddenMasters, to properly honour Wood's life in music. Among other music, the set would include the album Vulcan as Chris originally sequenced it in 1978. The box set Evening Blue was finally released three and a half years later in early 2017, in a special deluxe first edition limited to 1000 copies.
Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".
Blind Faith were an English supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech, active in mostly 1969. They were eagerly anticipated by the music press as a continuation of Clapton and Baker's former group Cream and Winwood's former group Traffic, but they split after one album and tour.
Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English singer, songwriter and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboard player, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he has played all instrumentation, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.
You Can All Join In is a budget priced sampler album, released in the UK by Island Records in 1969. It was priced at 14 shillings and 6 pence (£0.72), and reached no. 18 on the UK Albums Chart that year.
"The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" is the title song from the eponymous 1971 album by British rock band Traffic, written by Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood. Despite never being released as a single due to its long duration, it became a staple of North American AOR-format FM radio stations in the 1970s and still receives airplay on classic rock radio today.
John Barleycorn Must Die is the fourth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1970 as Island ILPS 9116 in the United Kingdom, United Artists UAS 5504 in the United States, and as Polydor 2334 013 in Canada. It marked the band's comeback after a brief disbandment, and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200, making it their highest charting album in the US, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA. In addition, the single "Empty Pages" spent eight weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 74. The album was marginally less successful in the UK, reaching number 11 on the UK Albums Chart.
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys is the fifth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1971. It was their first album to feature percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah and their only album to feature drummer Jim Gordon and bassist Ric Grech. Grech had previously worked with Traffic singer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood in the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith while Gordon had played with another former Blind Faith member, Eric Clapton in the similarly short-lived Derek and the Dominoes.
Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory is the sixth studio album by English rock band Traffic released in 1973. It followed their 1971 album The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys and contained five songs. Shoot Out, while achieving poorer reviews than its predecessor, did reach number six on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, one space higher than Low Spark had peaked in 1972. Like its predecessor, the original jacket for the Shoot Out LP had its top right and bottom left corners clipped. The album was remastered for CD in 2003.
When the Eagle Flies is the seventh studio album released by English rock band Traffic, in 1974. It was the final album released by the band until their 1994 reunion Far from Home. The album featured Jim Capaldi on drums, keyboards and vocals; Rosko Gee on bass guitar; Steve Winwood on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; and Chris Wood on flute and saxophone. The album uses a broader variety of keyboard instruments than previous Traffic albums, adding Moog to their repertoire.
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert is a live album by Eric Clapton, recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 13 January 1973 and released in September that year. The concerts, two on the same evening, were organised by Pete Townshend of the Who and marked a comeback by Clapton after two years of inactivity, broken only by his performance at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971. Along with Townshend, the musicians supporting Clapton include Steve Winwood, Ronnie Wood and Jim Capaldi. In the year following the two shows at the Rainbow, Clapton recovered from his heroin addiction and recorded 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974).
Anthony "Rebop" Kwaku Baah was a Ghanaian percussionist who worked with the 1970s rock groups Traffic and Can.
Mick Weaver is an English session musician, best known for his playing of the Hammond B3 organ, and as an exponent of the blues and funk.
Ginger Baker's Air Force was a jazz-rock fusion supergroup led by drummer Ginger Baker.
Rosko Gee is a Jamaican bassist, who has played with the English band Traffic on their albums When the Eagle Flies (1974) and The Last Great Traffic Jam (2005); with Go featuring Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve, Klaus Schulze and Al Di Meola; and with the German band Can, along with former Traffic percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah, appearing on the albums Saw Delight, Out of Reach and Can. He toured with Can in 1977 and also provided vocals for some of the band's songs during this period.
Welcome to the Canteen is the first live album by English rock band Traffic. It was recorded live at Fairfield Halls, Croydon and the Oz Benefit Concert, London, July 1971 and released in September of that year. It was recorded during Dave Mason's third stint with the band, which lasted only six performances.
On The Road is the second live album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1973. Recorded live in Germany, it features the Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory lineup plus extra keyboardist Barry Beckett.
Traffic Gold is a two-disc 2005 compilation album by the psychedelic rock band Traffic. It contains at least one song from each album except On the Road, Far from Home, and The Last Great Traffic Jam.
Best of Traffic is a compilation album by the band Traffic, released in 1969.
Oh How We Danced is the debut studio album by the British musician Jim Capaldi. The album was recorded while Traffic was on hiatus due to Steve Winwood's struggles with peritonitis and was released by Island Records in 1972. Like his contemporary albums with Traffic, it was unsuccessful in his native United Kingdom but did better in the United States, reaching number 82 in the Billboard 200 chart and producing the hit single "Eve", which reached number 91 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Short Cut Draw Blood is the third studio album by the British musician Jim Capaldi, released by Island Records in 1975. It marked a major turning point in Capaldi's career: it was his first album recorded after the breakup of Traffic, and more importantly it was his commercial breakthrough. While Capaldi's first two solo albums had been moderately successful in the United States, Short Cut Draw Blood entered the charts in several other countries for the first time. This was particularly evident in his native United Kingdom; the single "It's All Up to You" at number 27, released a year before the album, became his first top 40 hit there, only to be overshadowed the following year by his cover of "Love Hurts", which went all the way to number 4.