“A top-notch jazz and fusion guitarist, Noshir Mody composes picturesque originals that are impossible to classify as anything but high-quality modern jazz…"

Scott Yanow, Author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists, The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

"Mody came to the U.S. from India when he was just 22, and since then has proved time and time again he’s a guitar virtuoso with a skill set that few can replicate. Here, he also proves that he’s a strong lyricist, as his songwriting takes on a new dimension that, in this very difficult year for America, could help heal some of the wounds or at least provide some relief from all the tragedy."

Tom Haugen, Take Effect Reviews

“The guitar ace creates special music for hopeless times and tosses the listener a rope to let them know things are bound to turn around. Uplifting fusion, this is the kind of music that does well by doing good.”

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“Self-taught Bombay guitarist Noshir Mody has assembled a magnificent array of musicians to record a deeply personal, sonically rich and beautifully produced album…"

Phil Jackson, Acid Dragon Magazine

“He finds the sweet spot where real muso ears will appreciate his guitar excursions. A tasty outing throughout, it certainly sates the need for something out of the ordinary but not too way out.”

Chris Spector, Midwest Record

“…this group gets to stretch out both individually and collectively in spirited and spiritual fashion."

Scott Albin, JazzTimes

“…This is surely the direction jazz is headed for in the 21st Century & beyond… waves of passion will invade your thoughts and bring you the peace that only jazz can bring…"

Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation Magazine

“History’s greatest jazz recordings have always been those that meet the moment, using music and improvisation to reflect history, explore the issues and forge hope for a way forward. No jazz album in the first half of 2020 hits all these targets with greater precision than Indian born, NYC based veteran guitarist Noshir Mody, who is well known for leading his EthniFusion rock and jazz ensembles and performing with his trio."

Jonathan Widran, JWVibe

"...This stunningly authentic, and wholly spiritualized album then rounds out with the short 'Sketching "Under A Starlit Sky (2020)"' which bleeds beautifully into the low slung guitar work of 'Under A Starlit Sky (2020),' with the grandeur of a longer 'Rise,' and then the vocalized 'Illusions Grow (Reprise)' bringing the album to a close..."

Anne Carlini, Annecarlini.com

“When playing this I often find myself closing my eyes and just getting into the feel, the rhythm and soul of the album, as it truly is a beautiful piece of work.”

Kev Rowland, Power Of Prog

“The guitarist puts together a tight, unfussy melody, and rolls it out like it had a bank of spotlights covering its movement.” 

Dave Sumner, Jazz Recommendations - 2018

"NOSHIR MODY has a new CD that sees our potential to love one another and make the world a better place in An Idealist's Handbook... it’s a beautiful, intelligent conversation that blends, bends and expands on harmonic ideas." 

Debbie Burke, Jazz Author

"Your mind will flicker back and forth between the sum and its parts, and then you'll relax and hear the whole sound wash over you complete, especially as each of these epic tunes reach a thrilling climax."

Marc Phillips, The Vinyl Anachronist

“Guitarist Noshir Mody is a fusion guitarist and so much more: he is a musical philosopher who addresses the current condition of the world today in a manner that makes both his music and his lyrics poignant…Beautiful music, rich in significant ideas – this is an antidote for the way the world’s pressures impact us.”

Grady Harp

HALL OF FAME REVIEWER, Amazon.com

“…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."

Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

“On the rhythmically and harmonically diverse, improvisation-rich, spiritual minded A Burgeoning Consciousness, he whirlwinds together the best of all styles as the leader of a powerhouse sextet."

Jonathan Widran, JWVibe

Noshir Mody's An Idealist's Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020 - Review by Jonathan Widran, JWVibe

History’s greatest jazz recordings have always been those that meet the moment, using music and improvisation to reflect history, explore the issues and forge hope for a way forward. No jazz album in the first half of 2020 hits all these targets with greater precision than Indian born, NYC based veteran guitarist Noshir Mody, who is well known for leading his EthniFusion rock and jazz ensembles and performing with his trio.

The title of his multi-faceted new ensemble album An Idealist’s Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020 may be a mouthful, but it puts us in an optimistic state so that we may see daylight after the dark, anxious, fearful and complacency shattering year. Its July 3 release date is perfect, as it’s a signal that we can divide the year into the crazy, discomfiting first half, and perhaps, with any luck, a slightly better and less chaotic second half. 

Joined by a brilliant group that includes pianist Campbell Charshee, saxophonist Mike Mullan and (a true relevation of strength and emotional truth) vocalist Kate Victor, Mody leads us towards a better interior and external moment with a fascinating blend of musical storytelling, rousing high octane improvisations and “Rise,” a soaring, brass fired vocal anthem advocating for democracy, tolerance and common purpose. He sets the tone for the mood swinging to come with the atmospheric, grooving guitar-centric opener “Radha,” a musical interpretation of a famous Indian love tale. 

Aside from compelling narratives and some of the year’s most ear popping solos by Charshee, Mullan and Mody himself, another unique element of the collection is allowing the listener to experience what seem to be “sketching” works in progress by introducing the lengthier excursions (“Ol’ Splitfoot,” “Under a Starlit Sky”) with sparsely arranged shorter pieces focusing on his melodic guitar. 

Listening to this extraordinary album just as the second half of the year is about the begin, you may feel hopeful that we’re finally turning the corner. 

Interview with Jazz Author, Debbie Burke - Everybody Gets a Seat at the Table: “An Idealist’s Handbook” from Noshir Mody

A new CD is just out from composer and guitarist Noshir Mody called “An Idealist’s Handbook” and it’s a beautiful, intelligent conversation that blends, bends and expands on harmonic ideas. Marrying guitar and piano seems effortless and natural to Mody, who launches the song “Ol’ Splitfoot” with sweetness and lyricism. This soon yields to an increasing intensity until gleaming horns and full percussion involvement brings about the crescendo. This song is a fantastic showpiece that masters tricky changes in dynamics as well as tempo. “Rise” plays with chords, some dissonant and leading, and midrange vocals that slay. Very skilled picking from Mody on this track as well. In “Under a Starlit Sky” he’s not shy about exploring the high end of the frets and stays very comfortably in that rarefied air with an echo that evokes a harp.

 

Are you the idealist here?

When creating this project, I was going through the pages of my book that I use to scribble random thoughts, lyrics, chord voicings, lists, etc. and I narrowed down my selection to five pieces that I thought were ready to be shared with the world. As I sat there trying to determine the central theme to these seemingly disjointed songs so I could name the project, it occurred to me that I should just call it what it is – “An Idealist’s Handbook”.

The five songs tackle topics of identity, love and hope that are central to defining our experience today as Americans. The term “idealist” has always come with a negative connotation of weakness, as someone who lacks the practical know-how or ability to execute successfully in this world. I don’t share that view or perception and feel we need more forward thinking, capable idealists to deliver outcomes if we are ever going to manifest a fairer society based on merit.   

 

Where did you get the initial inspiration for this album from?

I compose as I’m inspired, and this album is a compilation of my compositions/arrangements that occurred over the last two years or so. The material just seemed so timely to me with the current situation of our country.

 

How do you believe these tracks reflect the diversity of identities in America today?

The album narrative is from my experiences and point of view, but even though I’m an immigrant who is now a naturalized US citizen my experience is not an isolated one. In my interactions I have found that we are in a crisis of identity as Americans – do we stand for tolerance, compassion, courage, innovation, endurance or do we want to be ‘great’ while restricting access, building walls, denying opportunities, designing and implementing vastly different policies for different segments of the population and incurring deficits of humanity towards our own people?

I cannot fathom how we can have a single identity as Americans while enacting an agenda that favors only a section of our country’s population providing only them with opportunities to education, financial well-being, health care services and the fair enforcement of laws and due process.

 

Do you think music – jazz in particular – provides hope, and how?

To me, music is expression and specifically Jazz is expression through dialog and conversation– the day we stop conversing and discussing is the day issues will spill onto the streets, as we are currently witnessing. So yes, expression/dialog/discussion in any form is hopeful, since as long as we are engaged in the process the expectation for a better outcome still exists.

In my opinion, the cornerstone of jazz which is improvisation over propulsive rhythms artistically embodies the fundamental human desire to be free and evolving.

 

You have a large ensemble. What caused you to invite these musicians to participate in the album?

For years now, everyone who is in the ensemble is either referred by someone else in the ensemble or is someone that has caught my attention. But at this level I don’t fuss too much about skill since they can all throw down. I’m focused on attracting and keeping quality individuals who are unique in their vision of themselves and the world and as a result can bring something to the table.

I find that musicians gravitate towards certain songs, that there is a natural sympathetic process that lends one musician to excel in a solo for a particular song over another. It’s my function to arrange the music for the recordings highlighting those relationships between artists and material. 

 

Your favorite track? The most challenging one?

This is hard, I really do love them all since I relate to each one of them in a very unique manner. So, no favorite but for most challenging I’d pick “Ol’ Splitfoot” because we’re switching time signatures within the song – between 7/8 and 4/4 (a composite of 7/8 and 9/8).

 

What is the overall mood you are going for?

I want listeners to hear this album and be inspired to act. To realize that ultimately, we alone are responsible for how this current situation in our country plays out. I’m not advocating politics, I’m advocating participation. Feel strongly about whatever your position may be and take part in the process. We can all learn from one another and move forward.

 

What are you most proud of in your music career thus far?

I believe and persevere and that takes its toll as I realize I can be difficult to be around during these periods, but I feel a great sense of pride and gratitude when my visions eventually take shape and inspire people.

 

Other comments?

Much love to the incredible musicians and engineers on this album – Kate Victor, Mike Mullan, Benjamin Hankle, Campbell Charshee, Yuka Tadano, Jarrett Walser, Brian Sargent, John Davis and Alex DeTurk.

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