HiddenMasters presents: Chris Wood – Evening Blue – 212 page hardback book-set + 180gsm vinyl + 4CDs. First release in new worldwide distribution deal with Caroline International.
Over four years in development, Evening Blue is the first book-set to chronicle and celebrate Chris Wood’s life in music from co-founding Traffic via his many collaborations with the likes of John Martyn, The Wailers’ Tyrone Downie, Free among many others to his own solo work.
The first edition, limited to 1,000 individually numbered copies worldwide, will be issued via HiddenMasters new worldwide distribution deal with Caroline International on February 3, 2017.
Evening Blue has been curated in close collaboration with Steph Wood who administers her brother’s estate.
A first pressing of Chris’s never-released solo LP on 180gsm vinyl. The ¼” reels were compiled and sequenced by Chris with engineer Terry Barham at Island Records Fall Out Shelter studio in Hammersmith on Sunday, October 1 1978. Long thought lost, the masters were discovered by chance in a barn in the West of England during the late-spring of 2013.
While some titles are known, none of the selections have previously been heard.
Side One: Song For Pete | See No Man Girl | Letter One | Barbed Wire | Don’t It
Side Two: Jam In Butter | Moon Child Vulcan | Tone Blind Rhythm Deaf | Birth In A Day
Evening Blue is housed in a 212 page hardback book which includes over 420 images, the majority of which have not been seen before.
The text has been abridged and edited from Dan Ropek’s acclaimed biography of Chris which includes interviews with the late Paul Medcalf and Jim Capaldi as well as many of Chris’s friends and musical colleagues.
Evening Blue includes exclusive interviews with Steph Wood and Anna Capaldi-Gilbey; studio engineers Terry Barham and Brian Humphries; musicians Mike Kellie, Dick Cuthell, Steve Winwood, Poli Palmer, Pete Bonas, Maps (James Chapman), Gordon Jackson, Jess Roden, Bobby Whitlock, Shawn Phillips and others as well as photographers Brian Cooke, Barrie Wentzell, Gered Mankowitz, Dina Regine, Dan Cuny, David Miller, Richard Keith Wolff alongside Muscle Shoals Swampers David Hood and Charles Rose.
The CDs include music drawn from Chris’s entire career with his solo recordings taking centre-stage. Evening Blue includes alternate takes and mixes as well as previously unheard compositions and never-before-heard home demos and other sketches.
Naturally, there is music from Traffic as well as recordings by Gordon Jackson, John Martyn, Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, Bobby Whitlock, Airforce, Martha Velez, Nick Drake, Shawn Phillips and others.
The set also features previously unheard collaborative work with The Wailers’ keyboard player, Tyrone Downie as well as Rebop Kwaku Baah, Remi Kabaka, Sky, Dr John and Jeanette Jacobs. Tracks from the only known-to-survive recordings by the short-lived Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog line-up are also included. A brand new 2015 collaboration – Maps with Chris Wood – also features.
Over half the music featured on Evening Blue has never been heard before.
Other than in three instances (where the analog reels no longer exist), all the recordings have been sourced from the original 2″ and 1″ multitracks, 1/4″ masters and cassettes captured at 24bit/96Khz. Re-mastering is courtesy Richard Whittaker at FX Mastering in London – the CDs mastered at 16bit/44.1Khz and the vinyl at 24bit/48Khz.
Evening Blue is both a wonderful tribute and a rare chance to hear this gifted, but too often forgotten, musician in the spotlight
The LP is jazzy touched with elements of Latin and reggae, a spacey beautifully performed mix of serious 70s music. The accompanying 200+ page book is gorgeous
Fallen Traffic wind magician gets sumptuous box set monument … beautifully measured tribute to Wood’s colossal talent
About Chris Wood:
Perhaps best known for co-founding Traffic with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Dave Mason, Chris Wood was self taught on Saxophone and Flute although he was also an accomplished keyboards player and bass guitarist too. And a fine artist as well; from Stourbridge College of Art, Chris was accepted by the Royal Academy in 1965 where he ultimately faced the choice – music or art.
Via The Steve Hadley Quartet, he moved on to other Midlands-based bands – Shades Of Blue which included pianist Christine Perfect (later McVie of Fleetwood Mac) and then Locomotive with Mike Kellie (Spooky Tooth). Knowing Steve Winwood from The Elbow Room in Birmingham as well as through his sister Steph who designed clothes for The Spencer Davis Group led, eventually, to the formation of Traffic which evolved from out of hours jam-sessions at The Elbow Room.
Traffic decamped to an isolated farmhouse (The Cottage) on the Berkshire Downs. Success came with their first single (Paper Sun) with their first album (Mr Fantasy) being issued in December 1967. The group split after releasing their second album with Winwood joining Eric Clapton in Blind Faith. Wood and Capaldi reunited with Dave Mason to form the short-lived Mason Capaldi Wood and Frog before Chris left for America where he joined Dr John and toured the US. On his return to Britain, along with Winwood, he joined the first version of Ginger Baker’s Airforce, playing two gigs and releasing one album. After which Traffic – as a three piece – reformed.
Chris introduced the traditional ballad John Barleycorn to Capaldi and Winwood and it became not only the title song to Traffic’s next LP but a lynchpin of their concerts for the remainder of the group’s life.
Close friends with Jimi Hendrix, Wood played on his Electric Ladyland album as well as contributing to records by Free, Fat Mattress, Sky, Noel Redding, Third World, John Martyn, Gordon Jackson, Crawler, Jim Capaldi, Rebop Kwaku Baah, Bobby Whitlock and many others.
He met his wife via Hendrix (she was part of Jimi’s inner circle) – Chris and Jeanette Jacobs were married in November 1972 at Kensington Registry Office in London.
Traffic folded after the release of the When The Eagle Flies LP in 1974. In the years that followed, Chris took tentative steps toward recording his own LP but, plagued by addiction and his wife’s serial infidelity while progress was made, it was slow. Eventually, an album was completed and sequenced in October 1978 but, for reasons which remain unknown, Island chose not to issue it. In the mid-80s the 1/4″ masters disappeared and remained missing until 2013.
Jeanette (from whom he was now separated) died of a seizure on New Year’s Day 1980 – she was 30. Chris was affected by her death as deeply as he was by Jimi’s passing as well as other close friends like Paul Kossoff and his erstwhile band-mate Rebop Kwaku Baah.
Never to completely shake his dependencies, Chris Wood died in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the morning of July 12, 1983. Three weeks earlier, he had turned 39.
Traffic’s Far from Home LP, issued in 1994, was dedicated to Chris – the front cover shows a solitary stick-figure playing a flute.
Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 2004. In Jim Capaldi’s acceptance speech he said: Chris Wood was the magic man in Traffic. He was the one who came up with John Barleycorn. We sadly miss Chris. Traffic forever.
Read the reviews in so far… Mojo magazine, PROG magazine, Shindig magazine
Pre-ordering works on a first come first served basis. The first edition is limited to 1000, individually numbered, copies worldwide.
STEPH WOOD: “I’d like to think Chris would be quietly proud of this; you see, he was never one to particularly push himself forward or speak up for that matter… he was much more interested in playing the very best he could. That’s what mattered to him. There is such a cross section of music here – and that’s a good thing because Chris never knew boundaries in music. As much as he loved working with people like Steve and Jimi, he was equally at ease helping young people just starting with the sax or flute – passing on what he’d call colouring with music. That’s what he did the best – colour the music. I’d no idea he’d written a song for me – I don’t think anybody did until the Tyrone Downie tapes were tracked down. What a lovely surprise. Bless him.”
Steve Winwood : ‘Chris was the main influence on creating the music; he had many skills that influenced us, always reading maps, he knew a lot about birds of the air and different kinds of music. He’d bring Japanese classical music and jazz and first introduced us to the Watersons and John Barleycorn. He was very instrumental in the character of the sound.‘ U.S. Radio interview 2004.
Jim Capaldi: ‘The ragged piper at the gates of dawn, the birdman, Chris, he just captured all the hills, nature boy really and also his attitude, his inner spirit, just the way he felt about everything; he was very gentle, he expressed a lot, you seemed to be very much aware of what he saw and observed. The way he played, it was all part of his expression, Special very special.’ U.S. Radio interview 2004.
This is the prototype or ‘white dummy” from our manufacturers showing the vinyl album slot inside the front cover, space for 3 CD’s inside the back cover (now 4) – and 200 pages in between. There’s a lot of stuff going on.
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