Garth Hudson, co-founder of The Band, played a rare set at a New York house party this week.
Hudson attended a house concert hosted by the musician and fellow keyboardist Sarah Perrotta. In a clip shared by Perotta, the 85-year-old Hudson is seen playing Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” on piano from his wheelchair, marking his first public performance since 2018. Check it out below.
Like the rest of The Band, Hudson got his start as a member of The Hawks, the backing band for Toronto rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. After outgrowing Hawkins, the group joined Bob Dylan for his 1965 and 1966 tours, the latter known as the “electric tour.” At the time, Hudson was one of the few organists in rock and roll to play an electric Hammond organ. The Hawks joined Dylan on a number of recording sessions, though few official tracks from this period were released. They did, however, take part in The Basement Tapes sessions in 1967, during which The Hawks rented a large pink house in Woodstock they called “Big Pink”; there, they would eventually write what became their debut album as The Band, 1968’s Music from Big Pink.
Hudson stayed with The Band through their initial breakup in 1977, and rejoined them for their reunion from 1983 to 1999. As the group’s self-appointed instructor and music theorist, Hudson is largely credit for guiding The Band’s sound. He’s also the longest-tenured member alongside bassist Rick Danko, and is one of only two surviving founders, with the other being guitarist Robbie Robertson.
In 2001, Hudson released his first solo album, The Sea to the North. He also began a career as a sought-after session organ playing, recording with acts like Neko Case, The Lemonheads, The Sadies, Chris Castle, Teddy Thompson, and others. With the rest of The Band, Hudson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2008, and a place on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2014.
Garth Hudson played a surprise set last night at a house concert in Kingston, NY, hosted by the musician Sarah Perrotta. It was his first public performance in many years, and Perrotta has kindly shared the video. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/f9xwau8qVS
— HarryHew (@harryhew) April 17, 2023