Noshir Mody - A Burgeoning Consciousness, Review by Scott Yanow
Arguably Noshir Mody’s most rewarding recording to date
Born in India but part of the New York modern jazz scene since 1995, Noshir Mody has his own sound on the guitar along with a flexible style that ranges from post-bop to fusion. In addition to his highly individual guitar solos, Mody is a very skilled composer whose colorful originals develop as they evolve, taking listeners to unexpected places. His music often features dense grooves behind the soloists, along with a purposeful forward momentum.
Mody’s latest CD, A Burgeoning Consciousness, has an excellent sextet that includes Mike Mullan on alto and tenor, Benjamin Hankle on trumpet and flugelhorn, pianist Campbell Charshee, bassist John Lenis, and drummer Yutaka Uchida in addition to the leader’s guitar. They perform lengthy renditions of six of the leader’s originals with “Consequences Of The Uninitiated" at 9:50 being easily the briefest performance. While Mody’s liner notes give the backgrounds behind the pieces and the often-complex meanings (such as “our legacy of harmony and discord," “two investigations within our internal conflicts" and “an awakening weaving our experiences from the past into the fabric of our future"), the music is actually pretty easy to enjoy and appreciate.
The opener, “Secrets In The Wood And Stone," is an excellent introduction to the group and the leader’s music. It starts out peacefully with the rhythm section, the horns enter, and then a warm melody emerges. Along the way there is a fluent alto solo over the uplifting theme, a guitar improvisation that is both adventurous and melodic, and spots for the piano and the drums to be in the spotlight.
“Consequence Of The Uninitiated" has a mysterious feel, builds up slowly, becomes somewhat dramatic, and includes excellent trumpet and guitar solos before it concludes with some passionate ensembles. “Precipice Of Courage" includes a march-like feel to its rhythm. Mullan on tenor, Charshee and Mody make statements that are a logical outgrowth of the theme. “Reconciling Loss" is not as somber as its title and there is wistfulness to the trumpet, guitar, piano and bass solos. Uchida’s drums bring in “Weaving Our Future From The Past," an atmospheric groove that features a particularly inventive guitar solo along with colorful ensembles. The enjoyable program concludes with the ballad “Forever July" which has lyrical statements from several of the musicians.
Arguably Noshir Mody’s most rewarding recording to date, A Burgeoning Consciousness is a strong step forward for the guitarist-composer, and an enjoyable listen.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists, The Jazz Singers and Jazz On Record 1917-76