The Blue Aegean Sea…

(Aegean Coast of Turkey, photo property of FBC, All Rights Reserved)

I’ve never seen a bluer sea, and I’ve seen many, because if there is one thing that I love is the water…I was born near the water and I’ve always lived in a coastal city or town…but the Aegean Sea is incredibly beautiful.

Here are some shots I took while sailing in Turkish waters…

And areas along the coast heading south from Bodrum, and Bodrum is more or less in the middle of the Turkish Aegean coast, about a one hour flight from Istanbul.

It’s a very relaxing time, the time you spend on the water, and since most of the coastline is composed of coves and small bays, you can anchor and jump in any time of the day or the night that you like…

(Our saiboat, we rented it with friends, for one week, photo property of FBC, All Rights Reserved)

When you hire a boat, it comes with a captain, a chef and a first mate. You then purchase everything and anything you wish to eat along the voyage as well as everything and anything you would like to drink. We had a great chef and ate gourmet quality food throughout the seven days of sailing the Turkish Aegean.

It is a very relaxing and refreshing time, a most enjoyable experience. You eat, you drink, you take in the sunshine and the gorgeous waters of that blue, blue Aegean Sea…

I leave you with a little video clip that I made of my trips and journeys in Turkey, a country I know very well, although I should say that I know the western, Aegean coast, because Turkey is a huge country and I know very little of all points east, north or further south…

Turkey, at least some of it…

If you liked this post, please hit that like button, share and comment. I greatly encourage comments as it is a great way to communicate ideas and experiences.

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My East River, New York…

(The East River, Manhattan, foto property of FBC, C.2019 All Rights Reserved)

For me there is always something magical, mystical, special, enchanting et cetera et cetera about a body of water, especially a large one, even though it is a river. Such a body of water is the East River in New York City.

Running alongside of it is Franklin Delano Roosevelt East River Drive that will take you up to Harlem, passing in front of such places as the United Nations…

From Manhattan to Brooklyn, you can cross this river through the Brooklyn Bridge, an historic icon and a beautiful structure. The Brooklyn Bridge was built in 1883…

The Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge will also get you to Brooklyn or from Brooklyn to Manhattan…

There are also tunnels…

From Manhattan to Queens, you can cross via the 59th Street Bridge, and the Robert F. Kennedy Triborough Bridge as well as tunnels such as the Queens Midtown Tunnel…

(The East River, Manhattan, foto property of FBC, C.2019 All Rights Reserved)

There is also a beautiful river walk that starts at the 59th Street Bridge and takes you all the way uptown to Harlem…

(The East River, Manhattan, foto property of FBC, C.2019 All Rights Reserved)

I loved my morning walks uptown from Mid-Town Manhattan…you get a feeling of strong energy and peace, it’s like a moving relaxed-concentration state and it is all due to the power of that river…

New York is one of the most wonderful places I have ever lived in…I love the energy, the spirit the excitement of the city. And it is beautiful! It is kept as a jewel. New York reflects the true spirit of America. It is a melting pot where you find people from all parts of the world working together, developing their business, their life, their art and their hope for the future. They are all different in many ways but all agree on one thing, their undying love for New York. If you have ever lived in New York you will always be a New Yorker and if you’ve ever visited you will never forget it!

(The East River, Manhattan, foto property of FBC, C.2019 All Rights Reserved)

C.2019, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, Valencia, Spain, 29 NOV 19, All Rights Reserved.

If you liked what you saw and read, I would greatly appreciate if you would hit that like button as well as share and follow and I would like to know your feelings and experience about New York, the Big Apple!

You can see my artwork on INSTAGRAM @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

and my JaZzArt en Valencia, paintings and drawings of 2019 at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

For my Jazz Music, the Abstract Jazz Arrangement, (AJA), please visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aja

and you can also check out my YouTube channel

THANKS!

All is Heaven…

(Photo by FBC, C.2019 Derechos Reservados)

ALL IS HEAVEN…ALL IS WATER…ALL IS IN MY IMAGINATION…

I have been born with imagination,
in a simple tree branch, a thriving nation,
I see a million clouds that form the shapes of dreams and hopes
in a cloudless sky.
And many times I wonder if we are fragments of a storybook
recited to a child in Heaven...

I called my studio of art, Omnia Caelum Studios, because of certain verses in Ovid which I always found interesting:

“…ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum
unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
quem dixere chaos: rudis indigestaque moles
nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem
non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum.”

I liked the significance which translated roughly means:

Before the sea and the lands and (which covers all things) the sky,
one form was in the whole sphere of nature,
which they called Chaos, a raw undigested mass,
and nothing but an inert mass, and heaped up in the same [place],
the discordant seeds of things not well joined
.”

Not well joined until touched by the hands of the artist who can redistribute, reshape and create something beautiful out of an undigested mass…

I was attracted to the order from chaos idea which in many ways describes the way I approach art. But mostly I was attracted to the line “omnia caelum”, which I know to really mean…at least really to me…that “all is Heaven”. All starts from Heaven and ends as well for Heaven is still there for us to look up and smile and wonder. After all in the skies…Heaven…we see so many incredible things…

From the source, Heaven, I can create the first line on my canvas that will inspire my improvisation that will ultimately create Jazz Art right here on the plane of Earth.

And not just my paintings, I have also created music using the same idea of Jazz. I formed the “Abstract Jazz Arrangement” (AJA) in 1999, withing Omnia Caelum Studios. I use the “Arrangement” to collaborate with jazz musicians, or others who like the idea of creating from short lines and forming complete tunes…

I like to work with the certainty that there is something before and something after. To me the concept of Heaven is many things, for example, the place…the horizon on the sea…where you see the union of sky and water…

I want my studio to be what I think art is, therefore it is conceptual, that way I do not lose my place and I can continue to work within the structure that I have created for myself. It is not a limitation, it is simply a border, a reminder. After all just because your elbow does not bend outward, are you limited?

I chose “jazz” as my style not just because I love that musical genre but because it creates something pure, organic and complete out of randomness. I wanted to unite with music in the spirit of the abstract, after all what can be more abstract than music?

If you would like to see more of my artwork, paintings and drawings, please follow me on Instagram as there I post them as I paint them, just go to @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and if you would like to see the 2019 “JaZzArt en Valencia” series, please access my online galleries at http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

For my music with AJA (Abstract Jazz Arrangement), samples can be heard at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aja

And, please, do not forget to hit that like button, follow and share and always leave me your comments, they are welcome and encouraged!

THANKS!

Life in Miami at the end of the XXth Century and the start of the XXIst…

(Looking south towards Collins Avenue, South Beach)

I lived in Miami in the late nineties and in Miami Beach…just across Biscayne Bay…in the early two thousands…

There I recorded some music and painted some pictures that I’ve exhibited all over the world…

I put together a group that I called the Abstract Jazz Arrangement, preferably called simply AJA. We recorded some nice funky sounds. Here is a video clip that I made with some of my photographs of New Orleans and which also includes my graphic work, meaning drawings and paintings and the soundtrack is AJA doing my song “Yaya”…

I used to compose music, write songs, sing and play the guitar in those days. On this song you just heard, I want to thank and recognise the great work of a well known South Florida percussionist, Rey “Conga” Diaz, from Hialeah, Florida. I think he still lives in that suburb of Miami, so if you want to hear some great Cuban percussion, look him up, I am sure he is still playing somewhere and probably active on social media…

These were my first paintings, which happily sold at my first expo in Istanbul in 2003…

Then I painted these others that same year and created my Studio & Gallery, Omnia Caelums Studios of Art Miami…

I have to also say that I went through several “evolutions” while in Miami…

In the music world I was Simon, then Bakero for a while, then Bodo Vespaciano, which became the trademark for my artwork produced up to 2018. It was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed creating some of the things that launched me in my career. I met some of the most wonderful people that I have ever met in my life in Miami Beach, including my wife and her mother, whom I both dearly love. And of course, the many friends, musicians, and artists with whom I worked and created.

Those years were very good, especially in Miami Beach. There were galleries and live music venues everywhere. Lamentably, that is all gone now. There is hardly a trace of what South Beach was like from the late nineties and early 2000’s. Now the galleries have been replaced with corporate stores and the live music venues with nothing…

I am glad I left Miami, but I still remember those years fondly.

Here’s to you, Old Times!

Please like, follow and share…I will truly appreciate it

AND

Follow me on Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera

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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

THANKS!

While Listening to…

“Ascension Jazz in Red” 30x40cm acrylic on wood (private collection, Melbourne, Florida, USA)

John Coltrane’s “Ascension…

I love jazz, always have since the late seventies. I sort of transitioned over from my first love which was and still is, rock. Now they call it classic rock because it has transcended through the decades and it is still as fresh and powerful as when it was originally done. It’s hard to improve on classic rock, I believe.

I have been a musician, a soldier, a playwright, dancer and, I guess, always always involved with something artistic. I prefer to call myself a poet of the brush, the strings and the written word. But I am simply a “jazz” painter. The reason is not just because I like to paint references and scenes that relate to music and dance. Although I tend to usually include in my compositions instruments and players. But the reason, as I have stated in other articles, is that I have adapted the “official” definition of Jazz…developed by the original masters back in New Orleans at the turn of the XXth Century…and made it the ruling guideline for the way I paint.

Jazz is considered to be the “performer’s art”. To define the genre, it was accepted, by convention, I guess, that for a song to be “jazz” it had to have the musical element of improvisation, it had to allow for the player…or players…to compose as they play, musical and compositional spontaneity, and it must swing. Jazz must have rhythm. Some purists actually think that Jazz should not have melody, that it should be purely the structure of the music, placed against a rhythmic back beat and that if it became too melodic, the melody would steal away the purity of the notes, chords and sequences.

I’m not a purist. I love Jazz in most of its forms. But when I heard John Coltrane’s “Ascension” album, I was moved to actually paint what I heard. This was a pivotal album, as some critics have called it, for it broke away, in many ways, from Coltrane’s previous work and it marked his farewell to the Miles Davis ensemble.

Coltrane assembled the following musicians to create “Ascension”: McCoy Tyner on piano; Jimmy Garrison on bass; Elvin Jones on drums; Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone; John Tchicai and Marion Brown on alto sax; Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson on trumpets and Art Davis also on bass. Coltrane played tenor saxophone. The album was recorded at van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on the 28th of June, 1965. “Ascension” was released in 1966. It is a masterpiece.

The year 1965 was a great year for music…and this is an aside, naturally…because that was the year the Beatles released, what in my opinion, is their best album…at least it is my favourite…”Rubber Soul”. Both of these albums, Ascension and Rubber Soul, albeit sounding eons apart from each other, included major changes within the structure of the songs and the instruments used. The Beatles went much further in their musical aesthetics when creating Rubber Soul. They used many studio techniques and many innovations. Their experimentation and quest for a new and unique sound while recording Rubber Soul, led them to record and release, in 1966, the second greatest album they have ever made, in my opinion, which was “Revolver”.

So, from Coltrane’s “Ascension” to the Beatles, that is what Jazz is all about. You know where you start but not so where you will end up and that makes the journey very interesting. I try to capture that in my paintings and my drawings. Not only through compositions that include musical instruments, dancers and musicians, but in the way they relate to each other and in the way the compositions line up in layers with an implicit perspective that enhances the whole idea of improvisation, spontaneity and swing.

So, prepare your ears and listen to “Ascension”. If you are not used to improvisational jazz, sans melody, it may sound like noise to you. But do not give up. Listen as much as you can, then listen again. If you take a break from Ascension, listen to Rubber Soul and then go back to Coltrane. You will see that little by little you will hear the spirit of the album. You will sense the message it transmits. You will commune with the players and meditate upon the endless universe created by the notes, the harmonies, the chords and the rhythm of such an interesting work.

All artwork and photographs included in this blog are my work and original. I am an artist from Valencia, Spain. If you would like to see more of my artwork, paintings, drawings and music, please visit my Instagram @Francisco_Bravo_Cabrera and my YouTube channel under the same name. My “JaZzArt en Valencia” 2019 collection can be seen at my online galleries http://www.ArtPal.com/rfbravo1155

THANKS!

From My Blood-Red Orange: “What do you see?”

We both sit on the sand, the sea before us.
What do you see?
I see my life as it extends before me...
What do you see?
I see the flowing rays of the sun
and the brightness of the blue,
I see myself arriving to my dreams,
and you?
You sit placidly by.
Your eyes perhaps caress the crystal shadows of the sky.
Your voice is screaming through your silence
and your thoughts betray you,
you turn into your apathy,
and although physically near,
you're very far from me,
And I'm not sure if you, well,
if you can see me?