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Traffic's Chris Wood: Gifted, troubled and perpetually overlooked

A musician best known for his work with Traffic, Chris Wood’s real gift was his ability to inspire and gild the work of other others - while he himself remains a mere footnote in rock history

On April 24, 1983, Chris Wood cut what would be his final piece of music. Recorded in Birmingham, his first stomping ground and now his last harbour, what was put on to tape that day carried an air of fragile, wounded beauty. Wood’s tenor sax playing on the otherwise bubbling three-minute track doesn’t have the liquid smoothness of his greatest years, when playing seemed effortless to him, but instead sounds like it was dredged from the very depths of his soul. It was as if, right there and then, he somehow found the strength to summon all the hurt, pain and wrongness of the world and blow it out.


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