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Noshir Mody | Stories from the Years of Living Passionately

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Stories from the Years of Living Passionately

by Noshir Mody

A lyrical and original set of thoughtful modern Jazz performed by a top-notch quintet
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Next Chapter
9:20 $1.99
2. Beckoned By Mercury
12:02 $1.99
3. India
16:58 $1.99
4. A Pearl Discovers the Oyster
11:32 $1.99
5. To Be in Your Thoughts
11:44 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Throughout his career, guitarist Noshir Mody has recorded consistently rewarding and thought-provoking sets of original music. His recent Stories From The Years Of Living Passionately features five of his sophisticated compositions performed by a quintet also including Tsuyoshi Niwa on soprano, pianist Carmen Staaf, bassist John Lenis and drummer Yutaka Uchida.

On Stories From The Years Of Living Passionately, the musicians stretch out on the songs, with only one piece being under 11 minutes long, yet they make every moment count. Their performances are as colorful as the song titles which include “The Next Chapter,” “India,” and “A Pearl Discovers The Oyster.” Mody’s guitar playing, while occasionally recalling Gabor Szabo and Pat Metheny, is quite distinctive, thoughtful and unpredictable. Niwa and Staaf also have plenty of solo space and the high quality of the improvisations and the grooves always hold on to one’s attention. Whether it is the peaceful but danceable “To Be In Your Thoughts,” the pretty melody of “Beckoned By Mercury” or the 5/4 groove of “A Pearl Discovers The Oyster,” every selection on this CD will be of strong interest to modern jazz fans. The music brings out the best in the musicians and vice versa, resulting in a particularly memorable set.

Born and raised in Bombay, India, Noshir Mody was self-taught on guitar. He had an original and unique conception to playing jazz from the start. His early inspirations included Indian classical music, Al Di Meola's Elegant Gypsy, music from Bollywood, rock and the modern jazz guitar masters. Mody immersed himself in jazz after moving to New York in 1995, leading his own trio in clubs. His eclectic and open-minded approach to music was well showcased in his groups the EthniFusion Rock Ensemble and the EthniFusion Jazz Ensemble.

Noshir Mody’s solo guitar recording In This World With You and his trio set Union Of Hearts displayed both his memorable originals and his impressionistic playing. Now with the release of Stories From The Years Of Living Passionately, a project that features his compositions interpreted by a top-notch quintet, Noshir Mody’s musical vision is fully realized.

For more information on Noshir Mody and Stories From The Years Of Living Passionately, contact him at info@NoshirMody.com or go to his website www.NoshirMody.com



to write a review

Webmaster (NoshirMody.com)

Scott Albin's Review for JazzTimes
The self-taught guitarist Noshir Mody was born and raised in Bombay, India, where early on he was inspired by Indian classical music, Al DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy, Bollywood soundtracks, and prominent rock and jazz guitarists. Since coming to New York in 1995, Mody has led a trio as well as the EthniFusion Rock Ensemble and the EthniFusion Jazz Ensemble. After his previous two solo and trio recordings, Mody this time broadens his sonic palette with a quintet that includes soprano saxophonist Tsuyoshi Niwa, pianist Carmen Staaf, bassist John Lenis, and drummer Yutaka Uchida. Mody's five originals reflect emotions engendered by some of his personal experiences, and with tracks ranging in length from over nine minutes to over 16 minutes, this group gets to stretch out both individually and collectively in spirited and spiritual fashion.

The opening of "The Next Chapter" combines Mody's vigorous, echoing strums with Niwa's laid back soprano tones. The unison guitar-soprano melody is lyrically uplifting and generates a soaring and passionate Niwa solo, an harmonically rich two-handed venture by Staaf, and Mody's glowing, sensitive statement. Staaf's forceful chords then back Uchida's vibrant outburst, which is succeeded by a different but equally compelling look at the theme. Lenis and Uchida's stalking rhythmic framework throughout is a vital key to this selection's allure. The feeling and resonant sound of Lenis' unaccompanied intro to "Beckoned By Mercury" is remindful of masters such as Jimmy Garrison and Dave Holland, and perfectly sets the stage for the optimistically yearning theme, again winningly delivered by Mody and Niwa. Niwa's solo features his full-bodied soprano timbre, fresh ideas, and logical flow. Mody's improv reveals Indian influences and nimble constructs and runs in the manner of Pat Metheny. Staaf once more plunges deeply into the tune's harmonies, with tantalizing lines and impactful chordal sequences, graced by Mody's delicate enhancements. Lenis and Uchida maintain separate yet cohesive rhythmic streams that are again not to be overlooked.

"India" was spurred by "the extreme nostalgia" for his homeland that Mody felt the day before he became a United States citizen. Staaf's prelude, with its drone-like left hand and spurting phraseology establishes a mood recalling Indian music. Uchida and Lenis' loping pulsations support Niwa and Mody's rendering of the floating, reverent theme and the subsequent solos. Mody's takes on a sitar effect in its ringing, crystal clear sound, but his blues-tinged formations are more jazz oriented than not. Niwa's reaches a hearty crescendo, while Lenis crafts a highly thematic and expressive improv. Staaf achieves ecstatic levels owing to her impressive technical skill and sincere emotionalism. Uchida's explosive presentation is elevated by the contrapuntal dissonant vamping of Mody and Staaf. "A Pearl Discovers the Oyster" is a piece that begins, like "The Next Chapter," with Mody's urgent strumming, which yields to a staccato swaying head from guitar and soprano over a 5/4 beat. Staaf's rhapsodic solo is followed by Mody's compelling journey that ranges from contemplative to rapturous. Lenis again stands out with his penetrating intonation and assured technique, both utilized to convey a most lucid, topical message. Staaf and Mody create another provocative aural springboard for Uchida's rumbling assertions prior to the reprise.

The closing "To Be In Your Thoughts" contains an enlightened, uplifting theme played lithely by Mody and Niwa. The soprano saxophonist's tender but fervent solo is in contrast to the leader's more refined and reflective one. Lenis' heartfelt effort is bolstered sensitively by Staaf's varied accompaniment, and the recap only reaffirms the loving nature of this track as a whole.

Webmaster (NoshirMody.com)

Phil Jackson's Review for Acid Dragon Magazine
Self-taught Bombay guitarist Noshir Mody has assembled a magnificent array of musicians to record a deeply personal, sonically rich and beautifully produced album. The touch of all the lead instruments: guitar, piano then soprano sax on 'Beckoned By Mercury' is astonishing but better is still to come in the centrepiece of the album, the 17 minute long 'India' in which the subtlest of lead lines are brought alive by the telepathic interplay between double bass and drums/percussion. This one track is worth the price of admission alone but there are four others to enjoy. Noshir's influences come from Indian classical music, Al Di Meola, Pat Metheny and rock and he has groups called the EthniFusion Rock Ensemble and the EthniFusion Jazz Ensemble.

Webmaster (NoshirMody.com)

George W. Harris' Review for JazzWeekly.com
Never heard of this guy before, but after taking in this album, I’ve got to find out more about him. Where’s he from? Where’s he been? Who are his influences? No matter, as guitarist/composer Noshir Mody lets the laundry out to dry on this fantastically fascinating album with Tsuyoshi Niwa/ss, Carmen Staaf/p, John Lenis/b and Yutaka Uchida/dr on five tunes that stretch out, but not because of mindlessly indulgent solos, but because the musicians are simply following the music along. A piece such as “The Next Chapter” flows like a stream for nine minutes, while on the sixteen minute “India” Mody has his guitar chords chime like bells and Uchida’s cymbals sashay the groove along like a spring breeze. A delicate ride cymbal taps along during “A P earl Discovers the Oyster” and Mody’s solo beams across like a rainbow at sunset, just before the panoramic “To Be In Your Thoughts” closes this journey with optimistic notes of joy. As fresh and cleansing as a summer rain!

Webmaster (NoshirMody.com)

Mark S. Tucker, Review for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
What first indicated to me that this was likely to be an unusual disc was noting that Stories from the Years of Living Passionately contains only five tracks, all of them long, giving plenty of elbow room to each member of the quintet to stretch out and paint a mural rather than a confine themselves to a canvas hung in an out of the way corner of some sonic museum. From the outset, I caught many flavors and influences: Chuck Mangione, Oregon, Bob James' best, Gabor Szabo, the CTI label outflow effect on modern jazz, and many other ingredients. Like Pat Metheny's earlier catalogue, there's a distinctive Chautauqua mode happening here (a 'Chautauqua' is a 19th/20th century adult education process heavily involving lectures and the arts), a sonic form of story-telling combined with travelogue, a feeling of moving along landscapes.

Guitarist Noshir Mody's an interesting player and composer, on the performance side not at all bombastic, in fact kind of a quiet version of a Jeff Beck, a cat first famed for his unorthodox 'flash' playing, where colorations are far more important than the blinding dexterities common to the rock world and which accounted for the evolution into his landmark, the stunning Blow by Blow release. But 'flash' isn't the proper term here, as Mody employs a gentle but engrossing set of narratives, structures, and limnings weaving into the tapestry of the group effort…and in his work, the group is all-important, the united effort not just the intriguing commentaries within. Tsuyoshi Niwa plays a very Paul McCandless-esque soprano sax as pianist Carmen Staaf whirls slowly through the atmospherics, ably abetted by bass (John Lenis) and drums (Yutaka Uchida) rising and falling like ocean waves, eddying as though breezes speaking with the earth.

My favorite cut? A Pearl Discovers the Oyster. The attentions to florid pastorality gain a sharper more laconic edge in this track, and every square inch is filled with cerebral brush strokes, each stave and measure devoted to novo-baroque explication, instrument flowing to instrument, solos abounding but every particular wrapped up in an ecstatic package with shaded night lurking just beyond the late summer end-of-day atmospherics. High art, as far as I'm concerned, one of the year's stand-out cuts so far, within a CD that doesn't brazenly demand re-listening but instead seduces. You'll be tossing it into the player again and again without even realizing it.
Track List:
The Next Chapter
Beckoned by Mercury
A Pearl Discovers the Oyster
To Be in your Thoughts
All songs composed by Noshir Mody.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.