While Listening to Mingus…

Jazz is the ultimate freedom in music…

Jazz is personal…

Jazz is individual and at the same time very in touch with the group…

Jazz marches, swings, serenades and waltzes into the heart and into the feet because originally Jazz was dance music. It is big band and trio, quartet and a solo performer. Jazz is improvisation and order combined through the creativity, the technique and the mastery of the artist. It is the artist’s art without question.

That is why I listen to great artists like Charles Mingus. His music not only inspires me, but it guides me in the direction that I want my art to follow. Follow and lead as well because you can do both things simultaneously in Jazz.

And Jazz is not just music. Yes, it is a musical genre where there are many greats, but it is also a lifestyle, a way to do things. If you follow the parameters, or rules, or definition established by the original masters of New Orleans back at the turn of the XXth Century, then Jazz becomes a way of creating art. That is the art-form I pursue.

I draw following the principles of Jazz music. These are improvisation, the performer as artist-composer and rhythm. There are only three but they are enormous in size and scope.

These drawings you see here are all original pencil and ink on paper drawings. They are all 27,9cm x 35,6cm in size. They are all originals. I do not make copies. Yes, their original black and white colours have been digitally altered, only for this article and they are not to be reproduced in this manner, or in any manner at all.

They are all part of what I call my “JaZzArt” series. Presently it is “JaZzArt en Valencia” because I live in the city of Valencia, Spain and that is where many of them are exhibited.

Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona (USA) on the 22nd of April, 1922 and died in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on the 5th of January, 1979. He was one of the great, great men of Jazz. His instrument was the upright bass but he also played piano and cello. He was a composer and a band leader. (I strongly suggest you listen to “Epitaph” a tremendous example of composition and orchestration). He wrote an autobiography called “Beneath the Underdog”. And to read more I suggest the love story, written by Sue Graham, love of Mingus’ life, which is titled “Tonight at Noon”.

Charles Mingus 1976 cropped.jpg
(Photo by Tom Marcello, New York City 1976)

Mingus played bass for Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell, among many other great jazz players. He then put together his Jazz Workshop. He recorded many albums, as a band leader, which changed the course of music and are regarded as some of the best.

Towards the end of his life, already suffering the debilitating effects of the ALS that finally killed him in 1979, and which did not allow him to play the bass, he still composed and the result was an album called Mingus. Joni Mitchell added lyrics to some of his compositions including “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and Herbie Hancock and Jaco Pastorius participated in this endeavour. I strongly suggest that if you like Jazz you look into his full catalogue. My favourite of his recordings is Let My Children Hear Music from 1972, however, you cannot go wrong with any album on the discography of Charles Mingus.

If you liked what you saw and read, I would greatly appreciate a like, a follow and a share. AND…

If you would like to see more of my artwork, both drawings and paintings, you can see it all by following me on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and to see my 2019 collection (JaZzArt en Valencia) please go to http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155