05.21.12Wildy Haskell's Review of the album "Union Of Hearts"
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)
01.24.12Junior's Cave Music Interview with Noshir Mody Late Winter (January 2012) Edition, Music Now Spotlight
Our publication interviewed guitarist Noshir Mody almost two years ago. Many things have changed since that first encounter with our online magazine for the talented guitarist but some things remain the same. What remains the same is Mody’s masterful command of the guitar with which he continues to make beautiful and intoxicating sounds.
Without a single word, the command that Mody has with his guitar is the strongest point to the guitarist’s music. In our online conversation with Mody, the artist reveals more about his music and further fascinating facts about him and his upbringing.
Isaac: It’s an amazing time to be a DIY artist/performer/band/musician. What do you enjoy the most about being an indie performer?
Noshir: As an indie artist, I have always had the ability to make music the way I heard it, but with today’s technology I am also able to bring this music to a global audience. I love that my music is now played on Jango.com, a free internet radio website, where listeners world-wide can hear my music and decide if they would like to support me.
Isaac: If you had an opportunity to sign with a major label, would you sign now knowing you may have to give up some of what you have built up over the years about you in the process?
Noshir: I understand that in order to scale at any level, one has to be able to collaborate with multiple entities to achieve a common goal. But for me it’s not the major label deal that is attractive but rather the ability to work with experienced, class-act individuals who can positively impact me and my music. So a major label deal in itself holds no appeal for me.
Isaac: I remembered Simon Cowell from American Idol talking about the “it” Factor that makes a musician/band stand out. What do you think is your “it” factor that makes you stand out from others in the music business?
Noshir: I truly believe it is the music. The music is easy to listen to but the subtle complexities of the phrasing, rhythmic structures and improvisational elements keep the music fresh for the listener and full of surprises.
Isaac: Why should music fans listen to your music? Describe what they are going to get when they listen to your music?
Noshir: This music creates a mood for the listener that is thought provoking and fosters conversations. The music is presented as instrumental narratives performed with a blend of virtuosity and creativity. My latest release, Union Of Hearts - a trio CD, with Daniel Foose on bass and Kim Garey on drums is a great album to listen to whether you are hanging out with friends over dinner or taking a long drive by yourself as it creates an inspiring and uplifting atmosphere.
Isaac: Briefly describe your humble beginnings that led you to where you are at musically now.
Noshir: I'm a self-taught musician and to this day I cannot read a note to save my life. I've developed my musical skill by spending time with advanced musicians in improvisational settings and on my own leveraging gadgets and gizmos. I have used loop stations like the Boss RC-20 to create arrangements, software programs like Cakewalk to preview these arrangements and websites such as Gootar.com to reverse look up guitar chord names so that I can create minimal chord charts for the ensembles.
But all this aside, the single biggest influence on my development as a musician has been life itself. I am deeply interested in human nature and consider myself incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by amazing, caring and compassionate people. They have always been my inspiration and it is through our interactions that I am able to create this music.
Isaac: You have some strong iconic influences. Of these influences, which artist/band do you relate to the most and why?
Noshir: I love the way Ulf Wakenius approaches the guitar. His album 'Forever you' is easily one of my favorites. I feel he delivers the melodies in a pure, heartfelt manner which resonates with me.
Isaac: Do you feel that Indie music gets the respect it deserves? Why or why not?
Noshir: I think it’s getting there. Indie artists are now getting heard on a larger scale which is a big step in commanding respect within the industry. Commercial formats have historically put forward artists that they believe will fit within a box and cater to the already cultivated audience demographics. In contrast, the independent music scene allows for artists and listeners to challenge these confinements and identify what works for them across a number of genres and formats.
Isaac: If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?
Noshir: Commoditize the business side of things, not the art form. I believe varied artists should be able to engage a business model that works – what we have now is a business model that dictates what the artists should be like.
Isaac: Do you think in the near future that DIY artists/bands will be the norm and big record companies will be very limited?
Noshir: Yes. I believe very soon every artist will be able to produce top quality recordings. However to perform at that commercial level of multimedia frenzy which includes cross selling across movies, TV, commercials and multiple book deals - artists will always need an infrastructure that is typically only made available to them by the big record companies.
Isaac: What type of feedback have you been receiving about your music from fans and music critics?
Noshir: It's been very positive! I typically post the feedback and reviews on my website www.NoshirMody.com. Check it out.
Isaac: If you knew that you would never gain fame and fortune with what you are doing now, would you continue to make music? Explain.
Noshir: Yes. I experienced a musical dry spell where I did not record or perform publicly for a number of years. While I continued to be successful in other areas of my life, I felt quite lost. The music I make sustains me to function on every other level, so it is my deepest desire that it does not leave me.
Isaac: How do you handle negative feedback or negative energy about your music?
Noshir: It’s never been easy for me but over the years I believe I’m handling it a lot better. I try to identify the intent of the person providing the feedback. If it feels like it is coming from a reasonable place, I will typically focus my energies in finding the value in their comments.
Isaac: What role do your family and friends play in the equation of your pursuant of a music career?
Noshir: I feel very blessed in that everyone has been incredibly supportive.
Isaac: What is the best site/s that you can be found on the Internet?
Isaac: The floor is yours; final words…..
Noshir: At this point in my life I have spent near equal parts of my years in the Eastern and Western hemispheres of this world. It resonates within me that the principles of rhythm and harmony are an intuitive inheritance that we all possess. Given our varied diversity I believe this is our universal heritage. I am deeply grateful to belong to a community that is involved in developing its artistic endeavors to fruition.
Noshir’s original interview with our publication:
09.08.11Union Of Hearts - CD Review - MuzikReviews.com
Haddaway's “What Is Love” may have been fun to dance to in the 80s, but it didn't touch on the actual question itself. Contrast that with Union of Hearts' opening track of the same title, which is instead c ool and moody... maybe even a little dark. It sounds like a true rumination by a musician who understands something about the question ‘what is love?’. It's a first sampling of the musical depth of each and every song on the CD.
Part of that depth lies in Mody's creative and unexpected melodies. It's simply highly refreshing to not know 12 bars into the song where it will end up. Sometimes he does satisfy the ear with something you might expect, but then often he instead chooses to surprise you.
“My Wish for You” really shows off that aspect of his writing, as well as his 'conversational style'. He speaks clearly through the instrument. He'll hit on an idea, and then almost mumble it back to himself, and then continue on with natural fluidity to the next motif. Listen carefully and you'll know if what he's saying is happy or bored, or melancholy. I have not enjoyed a smooth jazz album this much in a while. The genre abounds with talented players and songwriters and arrangers, but many of the recordings wind up lacking in substance in spite of all of the talent involved. Union of Hearts, on the other hand, is real music that just happens to be smooth. You won't want to miss the thought-provoking mellow available to you in aural fashion on this remarkable album.
Key Tracks- What Is Love, My Wish for You, Belonging To You
Donny Harvey- MuzikReviews.com Staff
08.30.11Union Of Hearts - CD Review - LA Jazz Scene
Union Of Hearts
Although a guitar virtuoso, Noshir Mody has a quiet sound and a relaxed approach. His improvisations build up slowly but purposefully, expressing deep emotions at a low volume. Both his unclassifiable style and his ability to let his music play him rather than the other way around display his openness to a wide variety of music. Born and raised in Bombay, India, he heard many different styles of music, was impressed early on by Al DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy, and spent time playing rock covers. Self-taught on the guitar, Mody moved to the United States when he was 22 in 1995 where he was fully exposed to jazz. His 2008 recording In This World With You was a set of often cinematic guitar solos.
Since then, Noshir Mody has formed his own trio which on Union Of Hearts includes bassist Daniel Foose and drummer Kim Garey. During this set of nine originals, the interplay between the musicians is quite impressive. Foose's accompaniment and occasional bass solos sound like an extension of Mody's guitar while Garey's tasteful drums are felt as much as heard.
The guitarist's selections form a type of suite, with one piece leading logically to the other. Many of the titles have to do with love such as the mysterious opener “What Is Love,” the floating ballad in 7/4 time “Swirl,” and the melodic and relaxed “Onset Of Summer.” Other highlights include the introspective “Spread Your Wings,” a medium-tempo “My Wish For You” which has Mody's chord voicings being a little reminiscent of Gabor Szabo,” and the Indian-flavored “Union Of Hearts” which is in 5/4 time. The upbeat “Schwabacher's Landing” closes the highly enjoyable and soothing set.
Union Of Hearts grows in interest with each listen. Its rich melodies, quietly joyful vibes and subtle creativity make it well worth exploring.
Scott Yanow, Author of ten books on jazz including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film
07.07.10New Music Spotlight - Interview in Junior's Cave Online Magazine
Guitarist Noshir Mody masterfully commands his instrument that releases beautiful and intoxicating sounds. Where words are not needed, the command that Mody has with the guitar is powerful and rewarding to say the least. In our online conversation with Mody, the artist reveals some fascinating facts about him and his upbringing.
Isaac: Let’s get started with this interview. When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?
Noshir: From my earliest memories as a child, I always remember our home being filled with music - be it jazz, classical, Indian classical or more contemporary music of the time. Even though I was born and raised in India, my father had an extensive Western music record collection. As a kid, I wasn't allowed to play the records primarily because I was too tiny to reach the turntable and would invariably scratch them. Not being one to take "no" for an answer I remember being yelled at for ruining a number of his albums. When I was about ten years old, I signed up to play flute in the school band and tinkered around with a keyboard for a while, but it wasn't until I was fifteen that I began to figure out how to play the guitar.
Isaac: Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?
Noshir: I remember being completely blown away when I first heard Al Di Meola's Elegant Gypsy. That pretty much sold me on pursuing the guitar as my instrument of choice. Since then, I have gone through phases in my life where I have been enamored by the music of John McLaughlin, Miles Davis, Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu and more recently Ulf Wakenius. I say enamored because I listen to their music and deeply enjoy what they have created but I don't try to imitate or emulate them, not consciously anyway.
Isaac: What has been the greatest highpoint in your career so far?
Noshir: I am very proud of the compositions and guitarwork done on the release of my solo album "In this world with you", and the way the album has been received so far has been very heartwarming.
Isaac: What has been the greatest disappointment in your career so far? What did you learn from that experience?
Noshir: I think most musicians start out by wanting to be rock stars, rich, famous and living the superstar life! I found that I was disappointed in myself for entirely missing the point of being an artist. I learned that it is more important for me to be honest in my musical narrations than trendy. It is more important for me to develop my relationships with the people around me than to make a ton of fragile connections.
Isaac: What draws you to want to play the type of music that you do?
Noshir: This form of music resonates within me the loudest. I'm sure it has to do with my being raised in India and the fact that I have spent the last fifteen years in the United States; that we live in a time of globalization and instant accessibility. For me, the lines between east and west; jazz and rock blur easy.
Isaac: What do you feel it takes to play this type of music that you play?
Noshir: The style is ethnic jazz fusion. Had the music just been a marriage of jazz and rock it would have remained jazz fusion. By coloring the formats with simple, easily accessible ethnic melodies it brings to the music a stylistic and cultural fusion. So I would say to play this format one needs to be open to possibilities and be able to musically converse in a live setting.
Isaac: What do you think you will create that will make your performances and who you are stand out in the music industry?
Noshir: This music brings its diverse stylistic and cultural elements together to work in harmony. These principles are universal and I believe people will respond to it. The live performance formats are pure as they are not scripted except for some very basic structural guidelines which can be moved away from at any time, by a direction set by any musician.
Isaac: If you had the opportunity to do one cover, what cover would you do and why? How would you put your own spin on this cover?
Noshir: For a long time now I have loved this beautiful composition by Astor Piazolla - Milonga Del Angel. It's hard not to relate to a melody crafted so masterfully which stirs up so much emotion each time it is heard. I would keep it simple and allow my story to come through.
Isaac: What does it take to be a good songwriter?
Noshir: I believe a good songwriter is one who understands the difference between inspiration and musical skill. Live passionately so that you may be inspired and use your musical skill to mould those moments of inspiration into a finished piece of work.
Isaac: How difficult is it to juggle music, family and work obligation, and life in general? Explain.
Noshir: It can be difficult, but when balanced right it can be incredibly rewarding. For me, at this point in my life, finding that balance seems to come easier than it did say ten years ago when I struggled a lot personally and professionally and mainly because I think I was trying to fit into other peoples boxes and labels. I'm much more comfortable with who I am today.
Isaac: What is your definition of being an Indie artist/band?
Noshir: You have to believe in yourself and your music whether or not anyone else does. I think it's a great system not only allowing artists to be creative with their art form but also with how they get their art in front of bigger audiences.
Isaac: Where can fans access your music online?
Isaac: In five years…….
Noshir: I hope to have 2 more albums completed.
Noshir Mody's Official Website
03.30.10In This World With You - CD Review - Los Angeles Jazz Scene, May 2010
In This World With You
Guitarist Noshir Mody has long been interested in blending together not only jazz
with rock but Western music with that of the East. In 1999 he founded both the
Ethnifusion Rock Ensemble and the Ethnifusion Jazz Ensemble. In 2008 after a trip to
Alaska, he was inspired to compose the pieces that comprise his first solo album, In
This World With You.
Performing 11 unaccompanied guitar solos, Noshir Mody creates music that is both
picturesque and cinematic. Sometimes the structures are simple but his expert use of
repetition, his ability to logically build up solos, and his high musicianship make
the music full of subtle surprises. Certainly the wistful but hopeful “Harlem,” the
bluish “Under A Starlit Sky” and the haunting “Remember The Fireflies” will stay in
one's memory long after they are finished listening to his CD. The swinging “In This
World With You” proves to be a perfectly fitting closer.
One selection leads logically to the next, giving In This World With You the feeling
of a suite or even a colorful travelogue. The music is always thoughtful and takes
its time without necessarily going in predictable directions. And throughout this
set, Noshir Mody displays a strikingly original tone and a fresh improvising style,
two qualities that are always welcome in the jazz world.
In This World With You is well worth several listens. Noshir Mody shows a great deal
of potential and his future projects will certainly be worth following closely.
SCOTT YANOW, author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Swing,
Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film