Colin H on Quintessence
I see a yawning chasm marked ‘Features’ that needs to be populated. Here’s a piece I wrote on Quintessence which appeared last year in ‘Record Collector’…
Some bands struggle for years for attention, but not Quintessence. Within weeks of forming, in April 1969, they were a word of mouth sensation. Chris Blackwell and Muff Winwood of Island Records dropped into a rehearsal with a chequebook and an artistic-freedom guarantee. Sorted. Quintessence were huge on the European live scene for three years and, in retrospect, were the last great hurrah of ‘the sixties’. By mid 1972, after four albums and two singles, the original six members had split in two – recording one more album each, as Quintessence and Kala respectively, before all involved slipped into obscurity as swiftly as they had appeared.
Quintessence, like Hawkwind, Marc Bolan and the Third Ear Band, were a product of London’s Ladbroke Grove scene, but few were locals.
Ron ‘Raja Ram’ Rothfield, an Australian conservatoire and jazz trained flautist, had met American bassist Richard ‘Shambhu Babaji’ Vaughan in Greece, both moving to London in 1968. Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones, also Australian, had recorded downunder as Phil Jones & » Continue Reading.