During the mid to late 2000s, during a period when I was largely away from music and writing, I had the great pleasure of ‘keeping my hand in’through involvement with Hux Records (and with original band alumni Shiva Jones, Maha Dev and John Barham) on a number of projects related to Quintessence. The Quintessence I speak of was a London-based, spiritually-inclined, multi-cultural progressive-rock band that spanned 1969-72 and made four albums in their original six-piece incarnation (plus one album in 1973 in a four-piece incarnation). I give those details to avoid confusion, as a quick bit of Googling will reveal the use of the name for jazz, rock and classical acts existing both before and after those 1969-72 dates. Clearly, lots of people thought it was a good name.
There were a total of five Quintessence-related releases on Hux between 2008-2011: Cosmic Energy and Infinite Love (2CD), two albums of previously unreleased 1970-71 live material, recorded by Island Records; After Quintessence: The Complete Kala Recordings 1973, being what Shiva and Maha Dev did next; Only Love Can Save Us, being a best-of drawn from three discs’ worth of mid-2000s recordings by Shiva Jones and Rudra Beauvert (with Maha Dev) as ‘Shiva’s Quintessence’; and Rebirth: Live At Glastonbury 2010, being a multi-track recording from the one-off 2010 Glastonbury Festival reunion of Shiva Jones with Maha Dev plus band, as ‘Quintessence’, mixed by original Island-era producer John Barham, with newly recorded studio interludes.
In late 2015 I was delighted to hear from Hux that a long-hoped-for license to access and release unreleased Quintessence studio material from the Island vaults had been granted. Spirits From Another Time: Island Studios 1969-71, a 2CD set featuring 19 or 20 unreleased performances, including six totally unheard compositions, is the result. I have been privileged to have worked on it, with the splendid Cormac O’Kane mixing and Mark Case on booklet design. It will be released in mid-2016.
With the generous help of my ‘web guy’ Uncle Spike I’ve uploaded as much vintage Quintessence video material as I can find to YouTube plus a sampling of tracks (audio with cover art graphic) from the albums After Quintessence: The Complete Kala Recordings 1973, Shiva’s Quintessence – Only Love Can Save Us and Quintessence –Rebirth: Live At Glastonbury 2010. Links to these are below.
Quintessence: A Guide To The Hux Records CDs
Cosmic Energy: Live At St Pancras 1970
In brief: Thirty-six minutes of surviving audio from a concert at St Pancras Town Hall, March 3 1970 plus a 39 minute bonus of the ‘Giants/Freedom’ medley from Queen Elizabeth Hall, May 30 1971 (a performance not included on the Infinite Love 2CD set). Two tracks from the St Pancras concert – ‘Sea Of Immortality’ and ‘Jesus, Buddha’ – were filmed for BBC2 and limited cinema release and still survive at the BFI. Since the release of this album a fellow fan kindly sent me a copy of a BBC4 rebroadcast of a 1970 BBC socio-cultural documentary which featured two clips of Quintessence’s ‘Jesus, Buddha’ performance from the St Pancras concert. I’ve edited these together and made it available on youtube.
Quality: The St Pancras material is like a top quality bootleg – it only survives in monitor mix form and there was a little distortion on the vocal and flute mics – but the performance is gritty and powerful. The QE Hall audio is from surviving multi-tracks and is perfect.
Booklet: Thirty-six pages in full colour with vintage photos and 18,000 words of notes (part one in this CD, part two in the Infinite Love booklet, but each can be bought/read in stand-alone capacity) including vintage press interviews with all the Quintessence members and recent interviews – by Professor Cornelius and courtesy of Ralph ‘Rudra’ Beauvert’s splendid website www.mooncowhq.ch – with Shiva Jones, Maha Dev and Allan Mostert. Also includes a chronology of concerts/recordings for 1969-72.
Link: A 2:08 minute edit of BBC footage from the very St Pancras Town Hall concert featured on this CD can be found here, which gives an excellent ballpark idea of the sound quality (though the film, unlike the CD, is in mono and is unmastered)
Introduction from the booklet notes:
For an intensive couple of years Quintessence were one of the biggest bands in England. They generated huge press coverage, shared stages with (and often headlined over) numerous acts that are today household names, selling out everything from regional cathedrals to the Albert Hall, commanding an unheard of artistic freedom in their record contract and, most importantly for them at the time, delivering a truly unique live experience to – and with – their audience.
First and foremost, Quintessence were a band that operated ‘in the moment’, and by their very nature, those moments pass. To date, it seemed that there were precious few that were preserved. Eight minutes of ‘Freedom’ – a scintillating percussion-driven excerpt from a lengthy version of ‘Giants’ – on Nic Roeg’s recently reissued Glastonbury Fayre film of 1971 gives a decent glimpse of how Quintessence could move an audience to some kind of rapture, while three minutes of ‘Giants’ also appears on the little-known European edit of Stamping Ground, a film of the 1970 Kralingen Festival in Rotterdam. As for Quintessence at the BBC, the Erasing Angel has been merciless: their John Peel Sunday Concert for Radio 1 no longer exists (at least not in master form), and the station has little visual record of them remaining – a visual record which once included a concert from Norwich Cathedral, filmed towards the end of their creative life in April 1972, and footage of the St Pancras Town Hall concert of March 1970, the audio of which provided a couple of stand-out moments on the band’s self-titled second album later that year.
Those two tantalisingly brilliant second-album jams (‘St Pancras’ and ‘Burning Bush’) plus a hitherto mysterious live version of ‘Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Guaranga’ on the 1971 Island sampler Bumpers, have long been the only audio evidence of the band in concert during their time at Chris Blackwell’s legendary Iabel. These fragments plus the live side of the first of the band’s two subsequent albums for RCA, Self – two further jam excerpts titled ‘Freedom’ and ‘Water Goddess’, recorded at Exeter University in December 1971 – have for nearly 40 years provided an imperfect glimpse of Quintessence’s once famed prowess as a live band. A prowess forgotten in the orthodoxy of rock history, if not the memories of their audience. Thankfully, with the release of this album and its 2CD companion volume Infinite Love, that will no longer be the case.
Amazingly, given the recent revival of interest in Quintessence, with their three Island albums superbly repackaged for CD by Repertoire, and their two RCA albums licensed to Esoteric, no one had thought to enquire after the concert tapes from which any of these relatively brief vinyl moments mentioned above had been extracted. It has been a curious oversight, for Island Records had the delightful and surely well-known tendency to record many of their early ‘70s artists in concert at least once, even if little or nothing ended up on record at the time. In recent years, for example, substantial amounts of Island-recorded live material by Free, Jethro Tull, Richard & Linda Thompson, Fotheringay and Mott The Hoople have debuted on various box-sets, expanded reissues and stand-alone releases.
So the prospects were good. And sure enough, when asked, Universal – current owners of the Island catalogue – found not one but three concerts by Quintessence: two entirely unreleased, from the Queen Elizabeth Hall in May 1971; and the other being the remnants (probably half) of the St Pancras Town Hall show of March 1970. Between them, they will more than double the amount of professionally recorded Quintessence on the market.
But never mind the quantity – experience the quality! Here at last is sustained, glorious evidence for Quintessence as one of the great live bands of the rock era – from the Hendrix-tinged powerhouse at St Pancras to the more sophisticated, mellower, richer palette of the Queen Elizabeth Hall shows (recorded at two performances on the same day) a year later. Both of these recording operations had been designed specifically to deliver live albums but, for different reasons, neither did, although the three fragments mentioned above did manage to escape the wreckage of St Pancras at the time.
Infinite Love: Live At Queen Elizabeth Hall 1971
In brief: With the exception of one of two performances of the ‘Giants/Freedom’ medley (a performance included on the Cosmic Energy CD) and one of two performances of ‘Wonders Of The Universe’, which would need additional restoration work to release, this 2CD set contains the complete record of two Quintessence performances at London’s QE Hall on May 30 1971. Includes one original track, ‘Meditations’, which Quintessence never otherwise recorded.
Quality: Recorded by Island Records on 16 track tape. That’s 143 minutes of prime live Quintessence in perfect sound.
Booklet: 36 pages in full colour with vintage photos and 18,000 words of notes (part two in this CD, part one in the Cosmic Energy booklet, but each can be bought/read in stand-alone capacity) including vintage press interviews with all the Quintessence members and recent interviews, by Professor Cornelius and courtesy of Ralph ‘Rudra’ Beauvert’s website, with Shiva Jones, Maha Dev and Allan Mostert. Also includes a chronology of concerts/recordings for 1969-72. To be clear, the photo selection is entirely different to Cosmic Energy – only the chronology listing is repeated across the two booklets.
Link: Here’s the band miming (with Shiva singing live) to ‘Dive Deep’ on Granada TV a month after the QE Hall performances. If the band look subdued it’s because they’d just had a row with Alan Mostert who was affronted at having to mime, and hence ended up on the congas while Maha Dev mimed the lead guitar parts
Extract from the booklet notes:
Three months prior to the Queen Elizabeth Hall shows featured on this release, Tony Stewart had reviewed the new ‘solo concerts’ Quintessence show, at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, for Sounds: ‘Their music has changed and developed a great deal,’ he wrote. ‘There is now an even stronger Indian influence, a reduction in volume, with less emphasis on rock, several additions to the line-up and a brilliant light show.’
The three hours of music played had included a tranquil half-hour opening set from Alan and his old friend Ned Balen, on tablas. As for the full band set, ‘the music has become more subtle,’ he noted, ‘and makes you listen more carefully… Shiva is softer and now has the chance to prove his ability as a vocalist… Visually, their act is beautiful, with the multitude of colours flowing over the wall like ink drops on water, colourful Indian tapestries draped over the amps, and Raja joyfully leaping about the stage, gaining much audience participation…’
Much of this new-found subtlety had been down to simply acquiring a better PA, with onstage monitors – a change that had been referred to in print, with some relief, by Alan the previous September, in an interview with Melody Maker’s Roy Hollingsworth: ‘[Recently] when we were playing up there we just couldn’t really hear what we were sounding like, and it was annoying… [But] there is never such a thing as uptightness with us, never.’
The inter-band relations Alan described were idyllic: ‘It’s like all heads working together. We have no individual member who does more than the others, and to have no individual is a very important thing. That way ideas are born and shared and used in one interchanging motion. We don’t all keep to discussing the use of just our own instruments. The drummer may suggest something to the flautist, and in turn the flautist may suggest something to me. The music therefore becomes part of us all, and we are all there in the end product.’
One aspect of interraction with the audience was, nevertheless, a step too far for the authorities at Bristol’s Colston Hall in March. The passing of joss sticks from stage to crowd was viewed as a fire hazard and the group were banned from further appearances there – making a terrific headline in that week’s Melody Maker.
This was a peak period for Quintessence press coverage. Even drummer Jake Milton found his views being sought, by Disc, in April 1971, where he expanded on the idyllic ethos: ‘We try not to treat the audience as if it’s them and us,’ he said. ‘I think that’s why we get audience involvement… If it becomes self-conscious it doesn’t work… As you’re playing you’re aware that the audience is involved to a certain extent and everyone onstage controls that, whether they like it or not. But I think you can be too much involved in controlling your audience, calculatedly so, which is bad.’
‘I’d say the music is where it’s at – integrated with the philosophy,’ said Raja Ram to an interviewer from Beat Instrumental around the same time, after advising said individual to disregard the band’s publicity handout. ‘What we’re trying to achieve is not just getting up on stage and playing a lot of music. As far as the philosophy goes we’re all striving for enlightenment and it’s a question of getting this through in the music… We’re not pop stars or any of that scene. We’re not playing that game. Though we are involved in it…’
If this seemed a tad paradoxical, the Beat Instrumental writer – in a piece amusingly titled ‘For God’s Sake’, found himself arriving at a paradox still greater in the band’s ethos: ‘I now have a very deep admiration for the musical dedication and depth of thought so obvious in the work of Quintessence,’ he concluded, ‘but I have great difficulty in accepting the Eastern concept of ‘truth’ which the group is propogating. I was told by them that ‘Everybody’s truth varies somewhat’, inferring that there is no single true system. Therefore I would assume that it follows that no philosophy can be falsified and if this is correct I can see no reason for ever wanting to pursue a religion or system of thought the way Quintessence are. After all, if truth varies we’re all on the right path anyway, whatever we think!’
Kala – After Quintessence: The Complete Kala Recordings 1973
In brief: Shortly after Shiva (vocals) and Maha Dev (guitar) were fired from Quintessence they formed Kala – a band that lasted a year, endured a Spinal Tap-esque career which somehow failed to take off at the time and which remains virtually unknown to this day. And yet this CD – comprising their sole LP (including arrangements from Quintessence producer John Barham), two live tracks produced by Keith Relf from a 1973 various artists LP plus two previously unreleased live tracks and two new mixes featuring Shiva Jones vocals recorded in 2010 – demonstrates that failure was in no way down to the music. Tighter, punchier songs – reminiscent at times of the Faces or Led Zeppelin – luxuriant production, yet still with the spirit of Quintessence and the fabulous vocals of Shiva Jones.
Quality: With the master tapes lost, legendary musician Ron Geesin created a superb CD master using a load of sound restoration software, two pristine vinyl copies of the studio LP, one copy of the various artists live LP Bradley’s Roadshow and a CDR copy of a 1973 soundboard recording. Shiva did an amazing job of enhancing two of the existing LP tracks – which he’d always felt had the vocals mixed too low – with new vocals recorded in Florida in 2010. We didn’t think he could match his 1973 phrasing exactly… but he could! And the new vocals certainly add power to the songs in question.
Booklet: A 16 page full colour booklet with an essay on the band, new song by song notes from Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones and a new cover created by designer Alex Smee.
Extract from booklet notes:
‘Quintessence never made any official announcement that I had left,’ says Shiva. ‘They kept that quiet. They’d show up at gigs without me and promoters would say, ‘Where’s the singer?’ And the feedback I got was they’d say, ‘Well, he hasn’t shown up tonight…’ So when Kala were trying to get bookings I got feedback from my agent saying, ‘People think you don’t show up for gigs’. ‘What do mean?’ I’d say. ‘I’ve never blown out a gig in my life – I’ve even gone onstage with tonsillitis’.
These minor difficulties aside, as Shiva has suggested, Ladbroke Grove was a musicians’ scene in those days and in retrospect the time between Quintessence ejection and a record deal for his new band seems remarkably swift. Shiva remains a little hazy about how it happened:
‘I don’t know how this came about, but Michael Caine’s manager at that time somehow connected with me and he became like a personal manager/silent backer of the band – I don’t know how I made that connection! I actually had a walk on part in one of Michael Caine’s movies, a spy movie I think. It was like, ‘Come down and meet Michael’, you know, so I came down and said, ‘Hello’, felt like an idiot…’
To which greeting, one immediately wonders, did Mr C say those immortal words, ‘My name is Michael Caine’?
‘He didn’t need to: I think everyone knew who he was!’
Anyway, getting back to the story…
‘On the film, all I did was walk on and walk off,’ says Shiva, ‘they just wanted someone with long hair. But the funny thing was, this guy, the manager, had a white Rolls Royce, like the Beatles had. And I remember this guy driving me round in this thing. So one day I’m sitting in the passenger seat with long hair, maybe looking like I was one of the Beatles or something, and we’re driving around somewhere in London past this big hotel and standing out the front was Sammy Davis Junior. So we drive by, he’s looking into this Rolls Royce – and he starts waving at me! And I said to Michael Caine’s manager, ‘Hey – that was Sammy Davis junior – he must think I’m somebody!’ It was really funny.’
So much for a silent financier and upmarket chauffeur; next we come to the record label connection. Bradley’s Records, a fairly short-lived mid ‘70s offshoot of ATV Publishing, is today best known, if at all, as being the home of The Goodies when the boys were having a run of hits on the back of their TV tom-foolery. For a while, though, when it began Bradley’s was looking at a whole different market:
‘Signing with Bradley’s,’ says Phil, ‘that came about through a guy who had always been a friend of Quintessence, Alan Reid. When I left the band he came round and said, ’I’m A&R man for this new label. We’re looking for bands who are album bands, we’re not interested in Gary Glitter type acts, we want serious musicians.’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s us’. I went round and had a meeting with the CEO, got on real well with him and he said, ‘Alright, let’s do it’. So he signed us up and I think three or four other people were on the label [at that time]. So we lined up a tour, went into good studios, put the tracks down…’
Shiva’s broad-brush recollection here doesn’t, however, convey the thinking he had put into his new band. In a sense, as a working musician, it was back to ‘business as usual’ for him, but the new band was also an opportunity to consciously revamp his approach to music:
‘Quintessence was a very ‘loose’ band,’ he recalls, ‘onstage the songs had a beginning, and an end and the middle was a no-man’s land, you just explored where you wanted to go. As much as I love improvising – and as a vocalist I’m good at it – I wanted a little more structure. I wanted specific lengths for solos, specific dynamics and within that enough room for people to express themselves and feel good about their solos. But I was never really into extended, lengthy jams – it wasn’t my thing. But that was the genre that Quintessence was in at that period, where everyone just jammed out, and that was fine. I figured, ‘Now’s the time to get back to a more formalised structure’. I’d still be getting my message across, whatever it was at the time, but within a tighter format.’
Rebirth: Live At Glastonbury 2010
In brief: Forty years after they opened the very first Glastonbury Festival in 1970, a version of Quintessence – reuniting Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones with Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling both personally and professionally for the first time in nearly as long – was back at the now iconic event. For two nights only (at the Rabbit Hole stage and the Glade stage) Phil flew in from the USA and fronted Dave’s recently formed band ‘Maha Dev’s Quintessence’, recreating and enhancing those authentic sounds of the ‘70s.
Quality: Recorded on digital multi-track at the Glade performance and mixed and edited by original Quintessence producer John Barham, who also oversaw the production of additional studio pieces to create a stunning interlinked listening experience akin to the flow of live and studio pieces on the self-titled Quintessence album of 1970. Mastered by Cormac O’Kane, who also mastered Cosmic Energy and Infinite Love.
Booklet: Another full colour ___ page booklet, created by award-winning designer Mark Case, using a variety of shots from the 2010 event and vintage pics. As well as an essay on the story of the one-off reunion, Phil, Dave and John Barham contribute appreciations of late Quintessence manager Stanley Barr, to whom the album is dedicated.
Link: There is a wealth of relevant footage on youtube – short BBC2 and BBC4 pieces filmed before the 2010 festival featuring interviews with Phil, Dave and original Quintessence drummer Jake Milton, along with some fun cameraphone clips from each of the two 2010 festival performances and a wonderful 10 minute BBC Yorkshire documentary on the reunion. Plus there are clips of the band at the 1970 and 1971 Glastonbury festivals. But you can find all those yourself… Here, representing both the album and the potency of this line-up, is the fabulous ‘Dance For The One’
Extract from booklet notes:
During the summer of 2009, in the process of working on the fabulous 1970-71 concert recordings which would be released on Hux as Cosmic Energy and Infinite Love, I made the acquaintance of ex Quintessence members Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones and Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling.
Rather like moving into a new home, unsure if the neighbours will be normal people or nutcases, there is – as I have learned to my cost – always a danger for a well-meaning writer/anthologist coming from a standpoint of fandom in meeting those one admires. But with these people I needn’t have worried. We are none of us perfect, but I can honestly say my life has been enriched by knowing Phil and Dave and also, more recently, their original Island Records era producer/arranger John Barham. By turns spiritual, funny, optimistic, absurd and enormously generous in spirit, I can honestly say I’ve been privileged in interacting – on a number of projects, both completed and yet to come – with the Quintessence trio and their associates.
Sometime towards the end of 2009, in the course of phone calls between us, the notion emerged of approaching the Glastonbury Festival, then preparing for its 40th anniversary year, with a view to some kind of Quintessence reunion performance. The festival said ‘yes‘.
What form would this reunion take? With the six original members variously scattered across the globe, some largely retired from professional music, and the funding too limited to conceive of anything that would require a substantial rehearsing period, let alone the complexities of renewing relationships which had been tempered by the split in 1972, the solution was obvious: Phil would fly in from the USA, where he has lived for much of the past 40 years, and, with a couple of day’s intensive rehearsal, would front Dave’s band ‘Maha Dev’s Quintessence‘, with support vocals from ace singer Chas Roughley, the group’s regular front man. It was a plan which, notwithstanding some logistical hurdles on the way, was to work like magic.
Dave, it should be explained, had returned to the UK himself from the USA only a few years previous. Based at a large property in Yorkshire, with rehearsal and studio space, he set about creating over the past couple of years ‘Maha Dev’s Quintessence’, hand-picking the best, most appropriate musicians available from around the country. While Dave had been setting out to revive the Quintessence repertoire by reforging the authentic, classic Quintessence sound of yore in a live context, across the ocean Phil had been re-imagining, as ’Shiva’s Quintessence’, the same body of material in a more consciously modern context with a series of recordings with Swiss keyboard wizard Ralph ‘Rudra’ Beauvert. (The best of these recent recordings, with two brand new pieces, is released on Hux as Only Love Can Save Us and, as with this album, opens with that very song.)
There was no doubt that Phil’s voice was as powerful and accurate an instrument as ever, but how would it fare in his first performances with a full band in decades? Since Quintessence, Phil had performed in various electric bands – with Kala in in Britain during1973, with the Phil Jones Band in Australia in the later ’70s (including Little River Band guitarist Steve Housden) and with Room 101 in America during the late ‘80s – but his live work since those times had mostly been in stripped-down form music workshop and church environments. And besides which, despite being regularly in touch by phone and email in recent years, Dave and Phil hadn’t actually met in 35 years. With a welcome touch of piquancy and the surreal, Phil flew in from New York to Manchester a few days before the festival, took a train to Leeds and was met at the station by Dave and… a TV crew from BBC Yorkshire to capture the moment. As well as having his first full-band performance in ages being recorded by digital multi-track for this live album, a BBC2 interview spot during the festival coverage to think about and a few historically-minded punters with camera phones at the gigs (two gigs now – the Glade Stage on Sunday, and a second having been added at the Rabbit Hole Stage on Saturday), Phil would have to adjust himself to being a focal point for director Nicola Addyman’s regional TV documentary. So, no pressure then.
The fairytale ending, of course, is that Phil did deliver the goods – and then some. But he couldn’t have done so without each member of the band creating a finely-honed, intuitive and supportive platform. It can’t be underlined strongly enough that this is a triumph of the ensemble, in every way. Setting aside music for a moment, it’s a testament to the camaraderie and spirit of Dave’s band that, having grafted for months with dedicated rehearsal sessions up north and sporadic gigs – generally with offshoots of Hawkwind – they were united in welcoming Phil into the fold as a ‘star member’ for a brief period, and in the process making financial sacrifices to accommodate the logistics necessary for that to happen. Lesser groups of people would have struggled with that kind of situation, not seeing the bigger picture. Without question, this wonderful album wouldn’t have come into being without Chas Roughley, John Bootle, John Taylor, Lol and Pete Brenchley, without willing engineers Tim Ellis and Aston Goodison, and without an inner circle of associates and cheerleaders including Rosie Codling and Julie Bootle, being 100% on board. Quintessence reborn for Glastonbury’s 40th was a shared adventure.
Shiva’s Quintessence – Only Love Can Save Us
In brief: An anthology of the best of Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones ‘noughties’ recordings of revamped Quintessence classics and new songs in collaboration, as ‘Shiva’s Quintessence’, with Swiss keyboardist/arranger Ralph ‘Rudra’ Beauvert. Two brand new recordings are included – wonderful new treatments of ‘Only Love Can Save Us’ and ‘Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Guaranga’ – and the running order and track choices were decided by the artists.
Quality: Mastered by Cormac O’Kane, it was possible to work from the original ‘flat’ mixes of almost all of the tracks (bar a couple which couldn’t be located), as supplied by Rudra. This was particularly advantageous as Rudra hadn’t been entirely happy with the mastering on some of the tracks as originally released. Both artists were totally happy with the sound this time!
Booklet: An 8 page full colour booklet with stunning cover – designed by Alex Smee and featuring notes from both Shiva and Rudra and a selection of pics.
Link: (Footage not prepared yet) Here’s the newly mastered Shiva’s Quintessence version of the 1969 Quintessence classic ‘Notting Hill Gate’ with a whole new section, ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. This new arrangement was so successful that it – rather than the original version – was the one featured by the Quintessence reunion band at Glastonbury, and available on the CD above.
Back cover blurb:
To most observers, Shiva Jones – iconic vocalist with Island Records’ supergroup Quintessence during their mercurial 1969-72 reign as one of the great British live acts of the era – simply disappeared from the music world in the mid ‘70s. Although periodically active in new musical ventures in both Australia and the US during subsequent decades, he made only a few commercially released recordings (none in Europe) and had left the Quintessence repertoire frozen in time. Both of these positions changed in the middle of the 21st Century’s first decade when Swiss producer and keyboard wizard Rudra Beauvert persuaded Jones to revisit the Quintessence material in a series of remarkably fresh studio collaborations. Three discs worth of recordings – old favourites reimagined along with wholly new material – were released in a low-key way in recent years. Here – remastered from the original mixes, personally selected by Shiva and Rudra and joined by two stunning new recordings of the Quintessence classics ‘Only Love’ and ‘Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Gauranga’ – is the best of ‘Shiva’s Quintessence’… so far!