Σάββατο, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2007

Quintessence - Quintessence ( UK Island Rec. 1970)

Quintessence The fifth essence. The ancient Greeks said there are four elements or forms in which matter can exist- fire, or the imponderable form; air, or the gaseous form; water, or the liquid form; and earth, or the solid form. The Pythagoreans added a fifth, which they called ether, more subtile and pure than fire, and possessed of an orbicular motion. This element, which flew upwards at creation, and out of which the stars were made, was called the fifth essence; quintessence therefore means the most subtile extract of a body that can be procured. It is quite an error to suppose that the word means an essence five times distilled, and that the term came from the alchemists. Horace speaks of "kisses which Venus has imbued with the quintessence of her own nectar.""Swift to their several quarters hasted thenThe cumbrous elements- earth, flood, air, fire;But this ethereal quintessence of heavenFlew upward ... and turned to starsNumberless as thou seest."
by Richie Unterberger
While Quintessence's second album had a guileless sincerity to its spiritual striving that was uncommon in pop music, it's very much a relic of its hippie age. The good points? An uncalculated, genuine wish to both reflect the era's ideals and to use its music as a tool to achieve them, as well as a willingness to blend aspects of jazz,
Indian music, and religious invocation into an overall psychedelic-progressive rock structure (complete with flute and some acid rock guitar). The bad points? An absence of conventional songwriting chops, exacerbated by the band's tendency to ramble on in formless jam-like passages, though actually none of the tracks here exceed six minutes. Certainly it's eclectic, with a commune-like vibe permeating the proceedings, though the recording's quite professional. "Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga" sounds rather akin to the We're Only in It for the Money-era Mothers of Invention, though minus any hint of satire or irony in the over the top beatific lyrics. Overall, though, it feels a little like listening to the house rock band of a pan-religious cult that doesn't have anything of particular value to sell. The 2004 CD reissue on Repertoire adds a live version of "Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga" (originally released on the first pressing of the 1970 Island compilation Bumpers) as a bonus track.

Quintessence (English band)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quintessence was a band formed in April
1969 by Raja Ram in Notting Hill, London, England. The style was a mixture of jazz and progressive rock with an influence of music from India. This trend in music started by Quintessence would later resurface in the 1990s in the form of Goa trance.
Quintessence were formed in April 1969 by Raja Ram in Ladbroke Grove,
Notting Hill. They played a hybrid of jazz, progressive rock and Indian Music. The original line-up included Shiva Jones (voice, keys, percussion), Raja Ram (flutes, percussion), Sambhu Baba (bass, guitar), Maha Dev (guitar), Allan Mostert ((guitar), and Jake Milton (drums, percussion). Quintessence were tagged a 'spiritual' band and were playing new age rock before the term was born.
Although their evangelism in retrospect might seem to be a bit over the top, the music retains its beauty created by some highly individual souls. They rehearsed in All Saints Hall which was a converted church near Portobello Road, and recorded 3 albums for Island Records between 1969 and 1971. two further albums were recorded in 1972 for RCA. The 'Self' entitled first of these was their best with studio material on side one, and the band playing live at
Exeter University December 11, 1971 on side two. Their live set was usually mostly improvised as they avoided playing the same riff twice or going into a routine thing. Not unlike the Grateful Dead, they did a lot of collective jamming with an intention to trance out their colourful audiences by a forceful combination of the chanting of mantras with the Krishna flute lines and the lyrical guitar soloing. Often the local Hare Krishna disciples would provide an extra percussion section to the already steamy proceedings. Quintessence had their household guru in Swami Ambikananda. They built a reputation on solid club work and were deemed London's Underground Sensation in 1970. Besides appearing at the first two Glastonbury Festivals (then called 'Faires'), in 1970/71, they also were invited to play the Montreux Jazz Festival at a time when jazz was still being played there. At their peak they sold out the Royal Albert Hall twice.
Although Quintessence played many hundred of concerts and festivals all over Europe, they never made it to the United States. Although a concert at New York's
Carnegie Hall was already lined up in early 1972, they didn't make it because Shiva and Maha Dev were asked to leave the band by Raja Ram in spring 1972. Shiva and Maha Dev went on to form the short-lived outfit called Kala. With ego clashes and problems on many frontiers, Kala quickly folded and Quintessence, now trying to make it the body without a head, and bereft of a sense of purpose, direction and being victims of the changing times, played on into the eighties, then slowly drifted into limbo.
Jake Milton went on to form
Blurt with his brother Ted Milton.
(Maha Dev) has recently released his first solo album.
"The band turned down a US record deal negotiated by Chris Blackwell (Island Records) and didn't play at Carnegie Hall or tour the USA because four of its members wanted a larger monetary advance. This disappointed Chris Blackwell greatly and he dropped the band from the label. The band signed with RCA and recorded one album with Shiva and Maha Dev. Raja Ram unexpectedly 'fired' Shiva and Maha Dev after that album with RCA was recorded.
"The 'real' reason that Shiva's band Kala broke up was because Bradley's Records (a subsidiary of ATV) changed their policy towards their artists. They no longer wanted bands to make albums and insisted on them being singles pop artists. They wanted Shiva to wear a 'glitter suit', and when he refused, the senior management of ATV broke up the band by taking all of the equipment back and canceling their dates. It had nothing to do with 'ego' clashes. I don't know where this 'Nik' got his info from." - directly quoted from Shiva/Phil Jones

Sambhu Babaji Bass
Dave Codling Guitar
Shiva Shankar Jones Keyboards, Vocals
Jake Milton Drums
Alan Mostert Guitar
Raja Ram Flute, Piano, Vocals

by Bruce Eder
Quintessence was among the first true progressive rock outfits signed by Island Records. Led by Australian-born
Shiva Shankar Jones (keyboards, vocals) and Raja Ram (flute, violin, percussion), the group also included Alan Mostert (lead guitar), Sambhu Babaji (bass), Maha Dev (guitar), and Jake Milton (drums), all of whom, in addition to a common interest in Indian music, also shared the Hindu faith.In Blissful Company, out before the end of the year. Its mix of rock, jazz, and Indian elements was popular enough at the time with their core audience, especially one track entitled "Notting Hill Gate," a tribute to the hippie community, which found a slightly wider audience; the band subsequently recut the song in a more pop-oriented rendition as a single.
The group's roots lay in the hippie community in the Notting Hill area, which was to London roughly what Haight-Ashbury was to San Francisco. Their breakthrough performance took place at a festival called Implosion, where they put on a good enough show to get noticed by Island Records, which signed them and got their debut LP, an elaborately packaged concept album entitled

The group had a strong reputation from their live work, and their early recordings seemed to build from this base. Quintessence's career reached its commercial peak with their self-titled second album, which got to number 22 on the U.K. charts. They did one more album for Island and then jumped to RCA's new British progressive rock Neon imprint for two LPs in the early '70s. Jones departed soon after the release of the group's second album for the new label, and they split up not long after that. In 1973, Jones became part of the big-band progressive outfit Kala, which recorded one album for the Bradley's label, and in subsequent decades he restarted his own version of Quintessence.

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9 σχόλια:

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dave said...
Brian, my best friend at school, had this elpee and we went to see them at Sheffield City Hall in 1971. I've always loved Mostert's guitar tone: always teetering on the edge of a feedback storm but gently under control.I can listen to St Pancras any time. Thanks very much.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 2:17:00 PM

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mariman said...

Monday, December 31, 2007 9:43:00 AM

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Anonymous said...

Monday, January 07, 2008 9:55:00 PM

zico είπε...

Well,they were o great band, more than worthwhile listening to. I' m sure all those who havent heard them will simply adore them.
One more excellent share from dear good friend blackcatbone and this, a have to say, simply even more greater blog.

Ανώνυμος είπε...

Hi friends,

What password for this file?

thanks a lot

Standin'AtTheCrossroads είπε...

there's no any password in this Blog! Go Ahead!

Ανώνυμος είπε...

Fabulous work man!
It's touching to see them live!
I'm a big fan of the fist period (the 2 first LP).
Thanks from France

Standin'AtTheCrossroads είπε...

I think All the albums are very interesting!
especially the first 3 LP's. Dont miss to hear the 3nd album Dive Deep !!!
here's the link to see the full albums track list with bonus tracks on Repertoire Records (Reissue)

thanx for coming here


Standin'AtTheCrossroads είπε...