37

Noshir Mody: Stories from The Years of Living Passionately

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jazz Flute Traditions CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Nerve Dance CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by John Sharpe
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Pastures" CD/LP/Track Review Pastures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "The Danish Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Danish Sessions
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Tetrawind" CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Mannequins" CD/LP/Track Review Mannequins
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.