QUOTIDIANO.net (from Italy)






Raphael Rudd Reigns O'er Rhino

Pete Townshend's collaborator on The Oceanic Concerts
plays an intimate gig for the folks at your favorite label

by Roland Stone

Raphael Rudd is an accomplished musician, composer, conductor, arranger, and producer. He's walked the stages of the world and the halls of Julliard. He's built a respected career drawing equally from classical refinement and the language of rock'n'roll. He emerged as an award-winning composer and a hot New York-area session player on piano and harp, and later toured the world with the progressive rock band Renaissance. But what brought Raphael Rudd to Rhino on this Friday afternoon is one of his many collaborative projects - in this case, with Pete Townshend.

Born of mutual admiration and a common devotion to the Eastern spiritual leader Meher Baba, Townshend and Rudd's friendship and musical exchange resulted in, among other things, a pair of benefit concerts recorded in 1979 and 1980, just prior to the release of Townshend's classic album, Empty Glass. Rhino unearthed the recordings and will release them as The Oceanic Concerts on October 16th. To present the flavor of the record and some of his other work, Raphael Rudd gave an intimate performance at Rhino's LA offices.

Joined by longstanding friend and drummer Joe Gold, Rudd emerged elegantly clad in a Nehru jacket, gave a smiling nod, and sat at the baby grand for solo renditions of "Beyond Passion" and "Homage," two instrumental pieces from his 1980 album The Awakening Chronicles. Immediately, I was struck by his uniquely physical approach to the instrument. Surpassing the typical limb-flailing animation of the concert hall, Rudd leans into the ivories with his whole body. He hammered on, hammered off, and twitched in time, using his stool as launch pad for his lurching passion. Did Pete have anything to do with such an engaging style? Dunno, but Rudd was tackling the implacable chest of wood and wires like it was low-slung Les Paul (was it me, or did he throw in a windmill or two?).

After an up-tempo, drum-driven "Let My Love Open The Door" (an early version of the song appears on The Oceanic Concerts), Rudd and Gold delivered a lyrical ballad in "Coming Home" and some "south of the border fun" in "Fiesta," during which Rudd's rock'n'roll mannerisms were in full effect. Rudd then paused to deliver the story behind his next number, the somber, reflective "Kitty's Theme," which also appears on Oceanic. His first composition for harp, the piece is a tribute to his first mentor, Kitty Davy.

Prefacing "The Awakener," a celebratory little number dedicated to Pete Townshend, Rudd shared an anecdote from his work on the Quadrophenia soundtrack. Hired to compose, arrange, and conduct parts of the score, he related how he, as a young man, stepped into the studio and up to the podium before members of the London Symphony. Having only heard the music in his head, he was, in a sense, hoping for the best. Needless to say, it all worked out.

Never mind the excitement among the seated ranks; I think Raphael Rudd was running on high octane in his own right. Leaving us with "one more little remembrance," he hopped eagerly back in the saddle for a sprightly tune that would have worked well for those training sequences in boxing movies. Being the animated devil he is, he was all over the ivories, at one point climbing atop his stool and stomping out a few choice pieces of cacophony. Rock'n'roll, baby!

Talk about a great melding of styles and influences. In Raphael Rudd, this audience got Julliard by way of Pete Townshend and Eastern mysticism. And it all took place in front of a KISS pinball machine.

Townshend accompanied by harp, piano

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

Who knew? Pete Townshend of Who fame may be better known for rocking out and smashing guitars, but he also had a gentle, spiritual side. That facet emerges on The Oceanic Concerts, previously unreleased acoustic recordings culled from two invitation-only concerts in 1979 and 1980 at the Meher Baba Oceanic Center, founded by Townshend in honor of his spiritual teacher. Townshend and his Juilliard-trained protégé, Raphael Rudd, collaborate on such classic Who tunes as The Seeker, Drowned and Bargain, as well as the only known live recordings of Sleeping Dog and The Ferryman.

Accompanying Townshend, Rudd plays harp on Let My Love Open the Door and piano on A Little Is Enough, both from the Who leader's 1980 solo album, Empty Glass. The set, due Oct. 16 on Rhino, follows Tuesday's release on DVD of Who cult film Quadrophenia (Rhino, $24.99), loosely based on the 1973 album. Townshend enlisted Rudd to arrange and conduct Love, Reign O'er Me and I've Had Enough, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, for the film's final sequence. Among the DVD enhancements are director Frank Roddam's commentary, cockney-to-English subtitles and an "Are you a Mod or a Rocker?" quiz.



"The Oceanic Concerts," an eighteen-track disc documenting PETE TOWNSHEND's 1979 and 1980 collaborations with classical pianist RAPHAEL RUDD, will be released October 16th. Recorded at Townshend's own Eel Pie studios, the invitation-only concerts -- staged in tribute to Townshend's spiritual guru, Meher Baba -- found the guitarist playing acoustic versions of WHO hits like "The Seeker" and "Bargain" as well as songs he would later include on his first solo album, 1980's "Empty Glass." "It was a really special event because Pete did it out of devotion to his master," Rudd told Rolling Stone. "These songs came from his heart and soul."


Townshend Lost Album Due

Collaborations with Raphael Rudd

You could call it Pete Townshend's "lost album": The Oceanic Concerts, an eighteen-track disc documenting the Who leader's 1979 and 1980 collaborations with classical pianist Raphael Rudd, will finally be released October 16th by Rhino Records. Recorded at Townshend's own Eel Pie studios, the invitation-only concerts found the guitarist playing acoustic versions of Who hits like "The Seeker" and "Bargain" as well as songs he would later include on his first solo album, 1980's Empty Glass. Then-Genesis drummer/vocalist Phil Collins and Renaissance vocalist Annie Haslam contributed to the sessions.

"[Townshend] had written 'Let My Love Open the Door' a very short time before the show," recalls Rudd, who also wrote arrangements for the Quadrophenia soundtrack. "And, when we played 'A Little Is Enough,' he said, 'I just wrote this yesterday, and let's give it a go.'" The two concerts were staged in tribute to Townshend's spiritual guru, Meher Baba, whose teachings are alluded to in several Who songs. "It wasn't just another gig; it was a really special event because Pete did it out of devotion to his master," says Rudd. "Pete sang these songs in an even more personalized way, as the composer, and these songs came from his heart and soul. It was a very powerful expression of feelings."


(September 14, 2001)

In his complex and often confounding career, Pete Townshend has proved himself a master of apparently contradictory impulses. Around 1980, while regularly leading the Who through bruisingly loud expressions of adolescent fury in massive sports arenas, he staged a pair of intimate and contemplative acoustic concerts for fellow disciples of Persian guru Meher Baba at his suburban London recording studio. On this delicate and lovely live album, Townshend gently renders a diverse but pointed selection of Who standards ("The Seeker," "Bargain," "Drowned," even the comical "Tattoo"), solo tunes ("Let My Love Open the Door," the sexy "A Little Is Enough") and hymns ("O'Parvardigar," Baba's words set to Townshend's music) in his thin, vulnerable tenor, washing them clean of anger and arrogance to illuminate their spiritual underpinnings.

Young American piano and harp (and that's not slang for harmonica here) player Raphael Rudd provides handsome-going-on-frilly accompaniment and performs his own instrumental compositions, which fill about half the album and give it a mild and inoffensive aura of New Age preciousness. With flashes of Townshend's unguarded religiosity that are hard to reconcile with the bitter blast of his best rock, The Oceanic Concerts couldn't be further from the teenage wasteland - or closer to the artist's soul.

Ira Robbins
Jan 31, 2002

BILLBOARD ONLINE September 17, 2001

Archival Townshend Album Due

Rhino has set an Oct. 16 release date for "The Oceanic Concerts," a previously unreleased collection of live recordings from the Who's Pete Townshend and pianist/harpist Raphael Rudd. The 18 tracks are drawn from two invite-only benefit concerts in 1979 and 1980 at London's Oceanic Center, which Townshend founded to further study of the Eastern mystic Meher Baba. Rudd, a fellow Meher Baba devotee, arranged the Who's "Quadrophenia" soundtrack.

"The Oceanic Concerts" includes acoustic performances of a host of Who favorites, such as "Drowned," "The Seeker," "Bargain," and "Tattoo." Also featured are early versions of "Let My Love Open the Door" and "A Little Is Enough," which were later recorded for Townshend's 1980 solo debut album, "Empty Glass." Of special interest to fans are the only known live recordings of the Townshend originals "Sleeping Dog" and "The Ferryman." Rudd's performances of a number of solo instrumental pieces are also included.

In related news, Townshend has begun posting free MP3 files of unreleased songs on his official Web site. The first track is "Flying Boy," which the artist wrote in 1990 for his then-one-year-old son.

"I promise you that in my opinion this stuff is not 'crumbs'," Townshend wrote of the unheard tracks he is planning to make available. "I've decided at 56 years old that if I wait any longer to try to put out all my music in the conventional manner -- whether I sell on my Web site or do a record deal -- I will be dead before you've heard a tenth of what I already have ready to go."

Townshend was expected to perform and accept the Online Pioneer award at the Yahoo! Internet Life Magazine Online Music Awards on Thursday (Sept. 20) in New York. However, in the wake of last week's terrorist bombings, the event has been postponed indefinitely.

And while the Who remain inactive, the first-ever DVD edition of "Quadrophenia" is due Sept. 25 from Rhino Home Video. Special features include commentary by director Franc Roddam, a photo gallery, and Cockney to English subtitles.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

quotidiano.net (from Italy)

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Pete Townshend has been saturating the market with his live recordings, offering them for sale through his Web site. For some reason, he stepped up to have Rhino Records issue The Oceanic Concerts, probably to give it the exposure it deserves. Rather than incorporating the same set list from his past few releases, this 1980 concert with Raphael Rudd is filled with surprises, not the least of which are pre-release versions of two of Townshend's best solo songs, Let My Love Open the Door (blissfully performed with acoustic guitar) and A Little Is Enough.

Bargain, The Seeker, Tattoo and more are here from heretofore-unknown concerts from 1980 featuring Townshend and Rudd. Though the two concerts were blended into one release (and full of Rudd's instrumentals), it's still an essential piece for Townshend fans. Grade: B

Mark Brown

Longtime admirers of Who guitarist Pete Townshend know that, as an artist, he is something of a paradox--at once the embodiment of his band's Sturm und Drang but also by turns introspective and spiritual, restlessly experimental, and deeply steeped in folk and jazz traditions. Those facets permeate this previously unreleased compilation of live performances from 1979 and '80, recorded at private in-studio shows for the Meher Baba Oceanic Centre with journeyman harpist-pianist and fellow Baba disciple Raphael Rudd. Using inventive acoustic guitar, Townshend delivers a rich, revealing slate of songs culled from the Who's canon ("Drowned," "The Seeker," "Bargain," "Tattoo") plus solo gems ("The Ferryman," "Sleeping Dog," "O' Parvavardigar," "Let My Love Open the Door" and "Little Is Enough"), while graciously showcasing his collaborator's own skills as a composer and musician. (Rudd would later score parts of the Quadrophenia soundtrack and collaborate on "Rough Boys.") It's a warm, welcome surprise for Townshend and Who fans alike.

--Jerry McCulley



Who has a more heavenly voice than Pete Townshend? While it takes Roger Daltrey's instrument to voice the writer's anger and virility, Townshend expresses purity in his solo performances. And never has he sounded more sweetly yearning than in this rare, old concert tape cut with the harpist Raphael Rudd.

Pete Townshend, who performed with the The Who at this weekend's benefit concert for the WTC victims, has a new album out. Rudd met Townshend in 1978, when the Who leader asked him to arrange the orchestrations for the movie version of "Quadrophenia" and to oversee the horns on his solo album "Empty Glass." In '79 and '80 the pair gave two performances in honor of their mutual spiritual leader, Meher Baba. The result should interest not only Who absolutists but also casual fans of good music.

Townshend gives especially gracious performances of well known songs like "Drowned" and "The Seeker," as well as obscurities like "The Ferryman" and "Sleeping Dog." Rudd intersperses his own classical harp and piano pieces between Townshend's songs, and accompanies him on six cuts, including the then-new "A Little Is Enough." Their belief in each other's talent, and in the material itself, gives these performances a special glow.

Jim Farber


The Oceanic Concerts on Rhino

By mixing acoustic performances of his own songs with New Age instrumentals on harp and piano by Raphael Rudd, guitarist-vocalist Pete Townshend of the Who obviously wanted to create a context where his rock songs could be "serious" on these live recordings originally made in 1979 and 1980, long before MTV, let alone "Unplugged".

Townshend, of course, always sought that kind of artistic dignity for rock music, and the two concerts were performed before invitation-only audiences at London's Oceanic Center, founded by Townshend guru Meher Baba. Townshend is trying to isolate the spiritual center of the material on these spare but emotional renditions of Who songs like "Drowned," "Bargain" and lesser-known Townshend pieces. Like the man himself, the recording is an eccentric but appealing mix of the secular and the sublime.

Joel Selvin


A recording of Pete Townshend playing two live accoustic sets with pianist/ harpist Raphael Rudd is being released by Rhino on 16 October.

The 18 tracks were recorded over two invite only benefit gigs in 1979 and 1980 at London's Oceanic Centre which Townshend established to aid the study of Eastern mystic Meher Baba.

The Oceanic Concerts album will include performances of Who tracks, such as 'Drowned', 'The Seeker', 'Bargain' and 'Tattoo', as well as early versions of Townshend solo material, such as 'A Little Is Enough', and the only known live recordings of the 'Sleeping Dog' and 'The Ferryman'.

Fellow Meher Baba follower Raphael Rudd also orchestrated the Who's Quadrophenia soundtrack.

Pete Townshend had also been scheduled to perform at the Yahoo! Internet Life Magazine Online Music Awards, where he was to be presented with the Online Pioneer award, on 20 September in New York. But the event has now been postponed indefinitely after the events of Sept 11th.

Meanwhile the first-ever DVD edition of Quadrophenia is to be released 25 September.

  • "Rudd's art doesn't fit into any one category...it fits into all of them. The classics, jazz, pop, rock and sacred music, too."
    The Star-Ledger

  • "Rudd's material works the delicate territory created by this New York musician's classical training, his innate pop sensibility and spiritual devotion."
    Montreal Gazette

  • "Easy listening this is not; spiritually inspired it truly seems to be."
    Napra Review

  • "The Awakening Chronicles includes ten tracks Rudd recorded in the late seventies with Townshend, Annie Haslam and Phil Collins...the first disc is brimming with excellent music...(with) tracks (that) will remind you how vital progressive rock can be."
    Stereo Review