Home » Jazz Articles » Noshir Mody: Stories from The Years of Living Passionately

38
Album Review

Noshir Mody: Stories from The Years of Living Passionately

By

Sign in to view read count
Noshir Mody: Stories from The Years of Living Passionately
A random sampling of Stories from The Years of Living Passionately could easily leave the impression that this is a hybrid of cool jazz, classical and world music. Even that broad an assumption would not be a comprehensive representation of Indian born Noshir Mody's complex, multi-layered collection of original music. A self-taught guitarist, he can invoke playing styles as diverse as Lee Ritenour, Pat Metheny or John Abercrombie yet his distinctive sound reveals no particular adherence to a form of playing or composing. Stories from The Years of Living Passionately comprises of pieces that are frequently reflective but with a force that resurfaces throughout the collection.

Mody's finely-tuned quintet greatly benefits from the presence of pianist Carmen Staaf. The 2009 winner of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Pianist Competition, she has performed as a guest soloist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under Wynton Marsalis, and has worked with bassist Henry Grimes, trombonist/composer Bob Brookmeyer, and saxophonist George Garzone. Drummer and Japanese native Yutaka Uchida received noteworthy marks as leader on Living Together (Self-produced, 2007). Bassist John Lenis is no stranger to global guitar jazz having performed on Nobuki Takamen's Live at the Iridium (Summit Records, 2010). Rounding out the group is relative newcomer, saxophonist Tsuyoshi Niwa.

Stories from The Years of Living Passionately consists of five long pieces, the shortest being just under ten minutes. Mody allows each to unfold at a leisurely pace but the layers created by the quintet—individually and collectively—maintain and peak interest as the narratives play out. Opening with "The Next Chapter" Niwa's soprano gives way to a head-turning Latin infused romp from Staaf after which Mody picks up the theme, further improvising on it. Much of the early going on "Beckoned by Mercury" is a showcase for Niwa's technical capabilities but again, it is Staaf, whose lyricism and percussive effects emboldens the piece. The common thread in the first two pieces is Uchida's ability to direct the action flawlessly while maneuvering through multiple themes and tempos.

Staaf's classically influenced opening to "India," the sixteen-plus minute centerpiece of Stories from The Years of Living Passionately sets the stage for impressive performances all around. Mody's virtuosity and a fine Lenis solo precede a slightly discordant reset as multiple diversions appear unexpectedly. The album is fine example of impressionism with a distinctive style and an intriguing improvisational approach. The compositions and the musicianship, particularly Mody and Staaf, is first rate and as a whole Stories from The Years of Living Passionately is involving and engaging.

Track Listing

The Next Chapter; Beckoned By Mercury; India; A Pearl Discovers The Oyster; To Be in Your Thoughts.

Personnel

Noshir Mody: guitar; Tsuyoshi Niwa: soprano saxophone; Carmen Staaf: piano; John Lenis: bass; Yutaka Uchida: drums.

Album information

Title: Stories from The Years of Living Passionately | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.