Traffic are a better band than they used to be. And they are going to be even better next time they appear live because Rick Grech will be on bass, giving them more definite rhythm patterns and therefore, more freedom for Steve Winwood and Chris Wood. That's the opinion of drummer Jim Capaldi and he should know. Grech is an obvious extension to Traffic. He was in Blind Faith with Winwood. Capaldi has known him since his Family days, and he, Winwood and Wood were originally involved in Airforce. So, in a way, the album released last week is something of a memorial to the Traffic trio. They won't be appearing for a month or two because of rehearsals so when they next step on stage Traffic will be a quartet.
Eighteen months ago Traffic broke up. Stevie went off to Blind Faith; Chris Wood played with Dr. John and Air Force; and Jim Capaldi worked with ex-Traffic member Dave Mason (whose just released his song "World in Changes" on Harvest records) and, for a short time, with Heavy Jelly, a group composed of some ex-Ansley Dunbar Retaliation musicians.
After a thirteen-month hiatus, Traffic will jam again. The group's last album came out eighteen months ago and last January they officially diverged onto separate roads.
Steve Winwood went to Blind Faith and then to Air Force. Chris Wood did session work, a gig with Dr. John and then went to Air Force. Jim Capaldi spent six months with Dave Mason. Mason, who kept coming in and going out of Traffic, was last seen among the friends of Bonnie and Delaney and hasn't been mentioned, even conversationally, in the reformation of Traffic.
Stephen Stills: "Stevie Winwood was always my favorite singer, that blue-eyed soul sound. It had been our ambition from the start to convince him to join Crosby, Stills and Nash - I wanted an organ player who could sing the blues. He was exceptionally kind to me, but everytime I trudged across the moors to see him, he was always occupied. I didn't think there was anyone more shy than me – the phrase painfully shy was invented for this man. We recorded "Dear Mr. Fantasy" a number of times, beginning in 1970. It was intended as a homage. Hats off, Stevie."