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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
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
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.
TOWNSHEND TO RELEASE LOST ALBUM
Townshend Lost Album Due
Collaborations with Raphael Rudd
"[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)
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.
Jan 31, 2002
BILLBOARD ONLINE September 17, 2001
Archival Townshend Album Due
Archival Townshend Album Due
"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.
FLORENCE 25 SEPTEMBER 2001 - it is previewed for 16 l'uscita October of an unknown job of Pete Townshend that reaches to us directly from the past and it gives back to a spiritual aspect and much intimistico to us dell'ex Who. Draft in fact of brani is recorded to you in 1980 after some months of collaboration with the pianista classic Raphael Rudd, as I pay to guru the spiritual Meher Baba, whose instructions have influenced the production of the Who
The disc has been recorded in two evenings near l'Oceanic center and the public of the two events was invited directly from the record house and the same chitarrista. The risente concert dell'atmosfera mystic in which the two musicians worked and offers we some splendid versions of hits of the Who which 'Drowned', 'The Seeker', 'Bargain'. 'A little is enough' and 'Let my love open the door' in which Rudd it accompanies l'esecuzione with l'arpa, they will make part instead of lě little of the sessions for the first solista job of Townshend, 'Empty Glass'. Moreover two traces will be able to be listened, 'The Ferryman' and 'Sleeping dog' relatively disowned the great public, that they appear in their only version live.
Raphael Rudd that have studied slowly and ARPA near 'Manhattan the School of Music', it was called from Townshend for riarrangiare 'Love reign o'er me' and 'I've had enugh' that they were chosen for the final sequences of 'Quadrophenia' and played together to 'London the Symphony Orchestra'; nacque therefore l'intesa creative between the two musicians.
Later on it is Townshend that Rudd has asserted of to have learned a lot
during those collaborations and it are mutual influences to you in the
composition and nell'approccio technical to you respect instruments to you.
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
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.
The Oceanic Concerts on Rhino
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.