An Open Letter Of Thanks To Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson Reimagines GershwinA personal post:

Today I found myself flying musically … at the public library. You see, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been coming here to work and go on-line. I am desperately trying to ride a creative high and meet a personal deadline to complete production of my film, Dada Venduza, against mounting financial and personal odds. The last two days found me re-creating the feel of the film for its soundtrack I’ll release on CD and here online. For some tracks, I’ve been combining, in true dada mode, a collage of music, speech and sound effects from the film. I’ve been having a blast doing so.

Anyway, back to my flying at the public library. I was listening to the album, ‘Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin’, and since I’m currently hoping to put together a musical performance of Gershwin tunes … I sort of have George and Ira’s songs on my brain. Their musical essence transcends almost any any cover you might here … and provided fuel for flight.

 I’ve written before about Brian Wilson, the musical genius and his magnum opus, SMiLE. Brain Wilson has always been a musical and personal inspiration to me, especially in his completing SMiLE 30 years after the original Beach Boys ‘lost album’ was attempted in 1966. Moreover, Brian’s ‘modular’ production approach to creating the album is one I’ve tried to emulate in past projects, and especially in my film, Dada Venduza.

Since I’ve been also working on a future musical performance of Gershwin numbers, I’ve had George and Ira’s music on the brain. And so … while listening to Brain’s take on ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ I found myself flying, as I often do with music. When I landed, I felt compelled to immediately write to Brian and thank him for the music and inspiration. Of course, there is no way for me to send Brain a direct message, email or otherwise, so I decided to post my heartfelt gratitude here on my blog and just let divine providence do the rest …

Dear Brian,

I just wanted to take a moment to contact you to express how grateful I am to you for sharing your music, creativity and life story. While, I’ve always been a ‘believer’ in SMiLE, I also wanted to take a moment to thank you for producing your album of Gershwin covers. Listening to it constantly lifts my spirits from my problems … and I have many. It’s really a beautiful album filled with what I call musical humanity. Your take on these timeless songs also gives me musical inspiration … which at the end of the day, besides air and love, is what I need to keep going.

I’m an American living in Greece. My life is very difficult at present … and has been further complicated by my constant battle with trying to balance my artistic passions (music, writing, and now film) with the practicalities of life. I’m trying to carry on with my projects despite all the current chaos around me, and my own admittedly personal failings.

Dada Venduza: A film by Jay Schwartz (Dada Bloq Productions)
Dada Venduza: A film by Jay Schwartz (Dada Bloq Productions)

At present, I’m working on completing a very avant garde comedy film called ‘Dada Venduza’ … it’s a long story but very much a tribute to Dadaism. Maybe it was being inspired by SMiLE and Dadaism that I took a ‘modular’ approach to creating the film, creating a canvas that holds a collage/symphony of life. At the very least, I hope it will bring a SMiLE and people will get a laugh. I’m doing the same thing with the film’s soundtrack at present by sort of sonically recreating the film’s feel in a ‘concept album’ composed of its music, speech and sounds.

As I mentioned I’m also a musician. I play harmonica, guitar, etc. I’m constantly trying to create the sounds I hear in my head and to convey what it is I need to my express musically. And, the older I get (52 years old this Thursday!), the more my life becomes one of trying to express myself and my artistic tendencies.

Anyway, and lastly, I’ve yet to see the film ‘Love & Mercy‘, the biopic about your overcoming your struggles, but as a follower of ‘SMiLE’ for many years, I know your inspirational story well … and it has been encouraging and heartening to me. Many times in my life, I’ve related to you, especially artistically. So again, I just wanted to thank you for your music and for sharing your wonderful story and soul …

– Jay Schwartz (just another musical worshiper at the church of Brian Wilson).


You can read more about Brian Wilson, from his website:

You can purchase and enjoy the album as much as I do here: Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin

Watch the trailer to the biopic film about Brain Wilson, ‘Love & Mercy’:

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