All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Modus Factor: The Picasso Zone

Franz A. Matzner By

Sign in to view read count
Hollow, reverberant trumpet. Electric grooves. Ambient undertones. Infectious bass. Slippery electronic textures mixed with lithe improvisational flights. Modus Factor's debut The Picasso Zone is a stellar example of modern jazz's hybrid nature as well as the creative surge coming out of Canada's jazz scene of late.

Conceived by drummer Chris Lesso and featuring Brownman Ali on electric trumpet and Ian De Souza on bass and effects, Modus Factor belongs firmly to the Miles Davis electric period branch of jazz. Anything but derivative, however, the trio explores this territory with a forward looking cant, drawing in modern influences to deliver a roiling mélange of funk, fractured beats, trip-hop atmospherics, and unpredictable explosions of ecstatic improvisation.

Comprised of ten distinct pieces, Picasso Zone presents a wide range of tunes that manages to establish a consistent thematic space without being repetitive. The standout "Still I Rise" alone would grant the album excellence. A true tour de force, the composition features the politically charged poem by Maya Angelou, read by the author herself. The tune marries Angelou's feminist/civil rights statement with a brilliant arrangement and nuanced musicianship that draws on the author's vocal rhythms and expressive tone to translate the powerful lyric into a modern musical context that creates a poignant challenge fit for our fraught times.

Other highlights include the pulsating, effects laden opener, "Brownian Motion"; the multi-layered, temperately paced "Casa Kimono," on which Ali most notably channels Davis; the hypnotic, ambient infused "Rounded Corners"; and the drum and bass oriented "Jagaan."

A solid foray into electric jazz that judiciously transverses genres, Modus Factor's debut is as enticing as it is thoughtfully crafted. It brims with energy, even when probing slower tempos, and effectively utilizes an array of electronic effects and astute musicianship to sculpt a distinguished and distinctive sound. A potent beginning that leaves the listener curious for more.

Track Listing: Brownian Motion, Now & Zen; Still I Rise (feat. Maya Angelou); Casa Kimono; Afindia; Rounded Corners; King Ghidorah; Jagaan (Awakening); Jeet Kune Flow; Metanoia (Transformation of the Heart).

Personnel: Chris Lesso: drums, konnakol; Brownman Ali: electric trumpet; Ian De Souza: electric bass, effects; Santosh Naidu: percussion (4); Andrea Koziol: voice (3).

Title: The Picasso Zone | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Browntasaurus Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Brownian Motion

Brownian Motion

Modus Factor
The Picasso Zone

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Picasso Zone

The Picasso Zone

Browntasaurus Records
2017

buy
The Picasso Zone

The Picasso Zone

Browntasauras Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD/LP/Track Review
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 24, 2018
Read We Out Here CD/LP/Track Review
We Out Here
by Chris May
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Best of the Bootlegs 2017 CD/LP/Track Review
Best of the Bootlegs 2017
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read The Asylum Years CD/LP/Track Review
The Asylum Years
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Solo Contra CD/LP/Track Review
Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Live In London" CD/LP/Track Review Live In London
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017