Traffic emerged on the international rock scene nearly six years ago touted as one of the finest groups of the times, and their recent appearance here did nothing to diminish that reputation.
The band has expanded to seven over the years, but the central three members, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood and Jim Capaldi are still together and still control the direction of the group. The flexibility to move from hard rock to jazz to almost folky sounds is still a trademark, largely through Winwood's vocals, piano and guitar and Wood's work on electric sax and flute. Winwood's voice retains the strong blues tinge it held nine years ago when he was 16-year old member of the Spencer Davis Group and Wood seams to improve with every tour as a link between jazz and rock.
Running through songs from the earliest stages of their career such as Forty Thousand Headmen to new material including Evening Blue to a well-deserved encore of The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys, the band again showed that professionalism is just as important as an 'act' and provided a completely delightful evening for a responsive audience.
Free offered their standard fare of hard rock and blues, including their major hit All Right Now, while John Martyn opened the all Island artist show with a 5-song set featuring acoustic and electric guitar.
This half-a-sentence review was published rather late in Billboard of 10 March 1973, in the Talent In Action section. Material provided by Rob Jarvis.