Tragic Magic, an all-new biography by Dan Ropek from Oakamoor Publishing, is the definitive first and last word on the life of Chris Wood. Even though Wood died way back in 1983, who would’ve thought at this late a date that we’d ever see a book on the spirit of Traffic?
It’s hard to imagine Traffic without this unique flautist/saxophonist, as Chris Wood was such an integral part of the band’s sound. Author Dan Ropek takes us behind the scenes into Traffic’s inner world and workings for a real insight into what made the band tick.
Tragic Magic: The Life of Traffic’s Chris Wood is chock full of previously unheard of information on this unsung artist, along with many previously unpublished photos. It’s so well researched. You can tell it’s a real labor of love for the man and his music. Mason Capaldi Wood and Frog, the short-lived post-Traffic band that formed in late 1968 before imploding in early 1969, is also covered in Dan Ropek’s Tragic Magic, which is a first.
Jeanette Jacobs, Wood’s long-time love, provided some of the drama in his life during and after Traffic’s demise, which led to his eventual downfall. Chris Wood could’ve and should’ve gone anywhere and done anything with his unique talent and music after Traffic quietly folded in 1974 with the release of their final album, When the Eagle Flies. Instead, he floundered without the structure, direction, or purpose that Traffic provided which is a real shame. He could’ve easily formed or joined any jazz fusion group, been a successful session musician, or gone on to a solo career.
He did initially take a stab at a solo career but I don’t think Chris Wood had enough confidence, drive and – equally important – an ability to get completely cleaned up from drug usage (and especially alcohol) to make a truly successful try at it. Perhaps that uncompromising spirit for which Chris was known for had gotten in his way, when all he needed to do was to sometimes meet people more in the middle. Then, at some point, he could’ve called all of the shots.
But Chris Wood was an artist to the core in anything he created. You’ll see that in Tragic Magic: The Life of Traffic’s Chris Wood, a superb new book, which shines a new spotlight on someone who was well respected and loved as both a musician and a man.
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