Impressionism is a powerful and nebulous word in art. The range of an impressionist is directly related to his his/her exposure to different styles within their art form. All this considered it’s not surprising that Noshir Mody is something of a virtuoso. The Bombay-born guitarist is self taught, growing up with the divergent sounds of Bollywood Rock, Indian classical music, and the hot and cool jazz stylings of Al DiMeola. Moving to the United States in 1995, Mody immersed himself in the many currents of jazz. Mody combines his varied musical roots with his unschooled, original guitar style to create moments of magic on his album Union Of Hearts. With the help of bassist Daniel Foose and drummer Kim Garey, Mody offers up nine original compositions in varying times, tempos and moods.
Mody kicks things off with the jazzy waltz “What Is Love?”, a spritely and subtle number with pointed energy. Mody’s melodic and technical styles on this track will sound familiar to fans of Dominic Miller. “Swirl” is a bit more mundane, but still retains a quiet, reserved beauty. “Spread Your Wings” is a dreamy affair, with bursts of energy that quickly resolve back into the landscape. Mody’s touch here is brilliant, and the composition has an organic feel that is palpable. “My Wish For You” is a mid-tempo Bossa Nova in the style of Gabor Szabo. Mody sprinkles the track with inspired subtleties, but then fills the space with too many at times, where they become more of a distraction than anything else.
“A Stubborn Man” is full of quiet energy, starting out large and in charge and becoming more lyrical as the song progresses. This is a very pretty work, full of quiet grace. On “Belonging To You”, Mody engages in lazy, lyric reverie. The song is a beauty, a moment of magic. “Union Of Hearts” alternates between quiet energy and passive beauty, drawing as close to pure dinner music as Mody ventures on the album. It’s a nice, gentle sound with enough energy to draw your attention from the background. “Onset Of Summer” is a bit bland but solid in composition, but works as a quiet lead-in to the closing track. “Schwabacher’s Landing” is a mid-tempo jazz number that runs the midline through the genre. No chances are taken here, as if Mody looks to prove his mainstream credentials before saying good night. It’s well-written, and the trio fashions an easily digestible sound here.
Noshir Mody runs the gamut from the well-known to the experimental on Union Of Hearts, swapping genres, time signatures and styles as easily as a society maven swaps hats. The end result is an interesting and unusual trip through his muse that never rests and never stops evolving. Union Of Hearts is a tremendous introduction to an inspiring guitarist whose creative range is still not fully known. Union Of Hearts is a portent of things to come. Noshir Mody is an artist you will want to follow over time.
Review by: Wildy Haskell
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)