Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

22

Brian Wilson with special guest Rodriguez at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
Brian Wilson with special guest Rodriguez
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Wantagh, NY
June 30, 2015

Brian Wilson and Rodriguez are both survivors. Wilson's story is well-known by almost everyone. Rodriguez' story is slightly more murky.

Tortured genius, the primary architect of the California sound and the creative force behind the Beach Boys, Wilson is widely considered to be one of the moist influential songwriters of this or any era. Wilson is the visionary behind The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album (Capitol Records, 1966), an album that many believe is the greatest album of all time. Pet Sounds' follow-up Smile was cancelled and didn't see an official release until 2004 when Wilson released it as a solo CD on Nonesuch Records. Following the cancellation of the original Smile project, Wilson's mental health deteriorated. He eventually recuperated and began recording and performing as a solo artist. He also occasionally returned to perform and record with the Beach Boys (most notably for the group's 50th anniversary celebration and the That's Why God Made the Radio CD released on Capitol Records in 2012).

Over the course of his legendary career, Wilson has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1988) and has won numerous Grammy Awards. Earlier in 2015, a biopic of his life (in which he was portrayed by both Paul Dano and John Cusack), Love & Mercy, was released. The film, directed by Bill Pohlad, received critical acclaim, and as of this writing is still playing in theaters. Wilson, himself, has stated that the film is a factual representation of his life.

Rodriguez, was born Sixto Diaz Rodriguez in Detroit, MI on July 10, 1942. He is also known as Jesus Rodriguez. After recording two critically acclaimed, but generally publicly ignored albums in the early 1970s under the name Rodriguez, he faded from view. Though he had a loyal following in Australia, Rodriguez quit his music career and lived in Detroit while working in demolition and on production lines.

For years, Rodriguez was a relatively unknown in the U.S., yet he managed to gain significant airplay in Australia, Botswana, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He became a very influential and beloved artist in those countries. Rodriguez was so successful in Australia that he was brought there twice (in 1979 and in 1981) to perform sold-out concert tours across the country. Though he had performed in Australia, and wasn't a mystery on that continent, South Africa was a different story. In South Africa, the details of his life were unknown. Many fans believed that that he had killed himself on stage in the 1970s. Rodriguez was unaware of his fame outside of Australia until 1997. It wasn't until his daughter came across a South Africa-based website dedicated to him, that the singer learned of his popularity. Eventually his South African fans found and contacted Rodriguez. His career was revived. The story of his rediscovery and rescue from obscurity was told in the documentary Searching for Sugar Man which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards in February 2013.

The last day of June 2015 was a muggy Tuesday. On this night at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Rodriguez manned the opening slot. He was escorted onto the stage by his daughters and got right down to it. Though he appeared to be in somewhat frail health, he was in fantastic voice. Dressed in dark clothes, sunglasses and a white fedora that sported a black ribbon, the almost 73-year-old singer ran through a robust politically-charged set accompanied by only his 6-string guitar. The set included: "Inner City Blues," "Crucify Your Mind," the Nina Simone Cover "Love Me or Leave Me," "This Is Not a Song, It's An Outburst Or The Establishment Blues," "I Wonder," "You'd Like To Admit It," "Sugar Man," a stunning version of the Jefferson Airplane classic "Somebody to Love," Vic Damone's "On The Street Where You Live" and the Little Willie John tune "Fever."

The strong performance was punctuated with pearls of wisdom. His feelings regarding those who hate was Zen-like ("Hate is too heavy an emotion to waste on someone you don't like. Many of us come in to this life with a clenched fist, but we all leave with an open hand."). He explained that, "If women entered politics, they'd fix it." He also explained the mystery of life ("The secret to life is to keep breathing in and out. The mystery of life is you never know when it's gonna end."). He was also self-deprecating in his humility. When audience members called out their love, Rodriguez responded almost immediately with a humble, "I know it's the drinks, but I love you too." When his set concluded, the crowd rose to its feet and gave the formerly forgotten folk singer a well-deserved standing ovation.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Live Reviews
Charlotte Jazz Festival 2019
By Mark Sullivan
May 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Nubya Garcia at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2019
By Ian Patterson
May 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Electronic Explorations in Afro-Cuban and UK Jazz
By Chris May
May 15, 2019
Live Reviews
Charlotte Jazz Festival 2019
By Perry Tannenbaum
May 13, 2019
Live Reviews
Savannah Music Festival 2019
By Martin Longley
May 12, 2019
Live Reviews
Eyolf Dale at April Jazz
By Anthony Shaw
May 10, 2019
Live Reviews
Imogen Heap with guy Sigsworth at Lincoln Theatre
By Geno Thackara
May 10, 2019