Chris Wood (rock musician)

Chris Wood (rock musician)
Chris Wood

Chris Wood in 1974.
Background information
Born 24 June 1944(1944-06-24)
Origin Birmingham, England
Died 12 July 1983(1983-07-12) (aged 39),
Genres Rock, progressive rock, jazz fusion
Occupations Musician
Instruments Saxophone, flute, keyboards
Years active 1964–1983
Associated acts Shades of Blue, Locomotive, Traffic, Wooden Frog, Dr. John, Ginger Baker's Air Force

Christopher Gordon Blandford 'Chris' Wood (24 June 1944, in Harborne, Birmingham – 12 July 1983, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham) was a founding member of the English rock band Traffic, along with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Dave Mason.



Chris Wood had an interest in music and painting from early childhood. Self-taught on flute and saxophone, which he commenced playing at the age of fifteen, 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.[1] Wood played with Perfect in 1964 in the band Shades of Blue and with Kellie during 1965-1966 in the band Locomotive.[2]

He attended the Foley College of Further Education and College of Art in Stourbridge and subsequently was awarded a grant to attend the Royal Academy of Art. 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.[1]

In Traffic, Wood primarily played flute and saxophone, occasionally contributing keyboards 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 Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi), of "Dear Mr. Fantasy".[3]

Chris Wood played with Jimi Hendrix in 1968, appearing on Electric Ladyland. While Winwood temporarily joined supergroup Blind Faith in 1969, Wood, Mason and Capaldi joined Mick Weaver of Wynder K Frog, playing first as Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog, but soon as "Wooden Frog".[4] 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 1969, when he was 25 and she was 19.

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 1975 breakup. He played on John Martyn's Inside Out (1973).

Through much of his life, Wood suffered from addiction to drugs and alcohol, which were initially attributed to a fear of flying.[1] His wife Jeanette, from whom he had separated but was still on good terms, had died in 1980, at the age of 30, from the effects of a seizure. Wood was profoundly affected by her death.[1]

While working on a solo album that was to be titled Vulcan, Chris Wood died in 1983 of pneumonia in Birmingham, England. The album had been recorded over the previous few years, primarily in a recording studio Wood had purchased.[1] Following Wood's death, the Vulcan recordings remained in the possession of Wood's sister, Stephanie. With the consent of Stephanie Wood and after three years of research and preparation, the album was released by Esoteric Recordings in 2008.[5]

Traffic recorded one more studio album, Far from Home, 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.



With Traffic

With Ginger Baker's Air Force

  • 1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force (Island/Polydor)
  • 1998 Ginger Baker, Do What You Like (Polydor; compilation of Ginger Baker's first three albums, including Ginger Baker's Air Force)

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e Ellie Iglio and Stephanie Wood, Chris Wood Biography;
  2. ^ Biography of Locomotive;
  3. ^ Wood's contributions to certain songs may have initially been overlooked. For example, some songwriting credits on Traffic changed between the original LP issue and the more recent CD reissues. The credits for "Vagabond Virgin" changed from Mason/Capaldi to Mason/Wood, and the credits for "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?" changed from Winwood/Capaldi to Winwood/Capaldi/Wood. See Stephen Smith (ed.), The Smiling Phases Compendium: Traffic; BMI lists "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring?" as by Winwood/Capaldi/Wood, while Allmusic (page retrieved 09-06-21) still lists "Vagabond Virgin" as being co-written by Capaldi and Mason. Matthew Greenwald, Review of "Vagabond Virgin";
  4. ^ Mick Weaver History, The Musician's Olympus.
  5. ^ Esoteric Recordings News Release, October, 2008;

External links

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