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 The Gravity Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Gravity Project
by Gareth Thompson
Published: October 23, 2018
Read Experiments on Human Subjects CD/LP/Track Review
Experiments on Human Subjects
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2018
Read Street Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Street Scene
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: October 23, 2018
Read In Common CD/LP/Track Review
In Common
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 23, 2018
Read Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden
by Chris May
Published: October 22, 2018
Read Remember Love CD/LP/Track Review
Remember Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 22, 2018
Read "Restroy" CD/LP/Track Review Restroy
by James Fleming
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "Carpe Diem" CD/LP/Track Review Carpe Diem
by Don Phipps
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by John Sharpe
Published: May 4, 2018
Read "Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road" CD/LP/Track Review Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read "The Blues and I Should have a Party" CD/LP/Track Review The Blues and I Should have a Party
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Vortex" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex
by John Kelman
Published: May 12, 2018