Sunday , July 21 2024
Two fine new albums show the worldwide possibilities of jazz.

Music Reviews: Noshir Mody – ‘Stories From the Years of Living Passionately,’ Antonio Adolpho – ‘Rio, Choro, Jazz’

Noshir Mody –  Stories From the Years of Living Passionately

Stories From the Years of Living Passionately, the latest from Indian guitarist Noshir Mody, is a polished quintet recording that he eloquently describes as realizing “a moment of inspiration” manifested “into melodies and harmonies that memorialize an experience.” If expressive melodies and harmonies can be said to serve as metaphors for that moment of inspiration, Mody’s music makes the case. The album is the pudding’s proof.

NoshirWorking with long-form jazz explorations, Stories From the Years of Living Passionately features five original pieces. The shortest, “The Next Chapter,” runs just under nine and a half minutes. It appropriately opens the album with a promise for what Mody calls “contemplative anticipation of new beginnings,” a promise he and the ensemble go on to deliver.

This is followed by “Beckoned By Mercury,” a futuristic speculation on planetary effects on human behavior tuned to some otherworldly sounding musical phrases, before moving back in time to a nostalgic salute to his native land with “India.” The wonderfully titled “A Pearl Discovers the Oyster” and “To Be in Your Thoughts” conclude the album.

Joining Mody are Tsuyoshi Niwa on soprano sax, Carmen Staaf on piano, John Lenis on bass, and Yutaka Uchida on drums. Long-form composition gives soloists plenty of opportunity to develop themes and ideas.

Antonio Adolpho – Rio, Choro, Jazz

The latest album from Brazilian composer/pianist Antonio Adolpho is a celebration of the music of his countryman, composer/pianist Ernesto Nazareth, focusing on his contributions to the choro, in many respects one of the signature Brazilian musical genres. The choro, as it developed towards the end of the 19th century, mixed a number of dance forms imported mainly from Portugal with popular Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Nazareth (1863–1934), as the liner notes indicate, was “the most prolific and popular choro composer, and his great choros and waltzes endured through the 20th century and are classics today.”

Adolpho’s arrangements, adding his own Brazilian jazz elements to the mix, will go a long way to insure that Nazareth’s music continues to get the recognition it deserves. Nine of pieces on the Rio, Choro, Jazz are by Nazareth. The title tune, which introduces the album, is an Adolpho original and serves as a kind of introduction to what follows.adolpho

And what follows is a dynamic exploration of the form in its lively varieties. There is a ragtime flavor aided by a couple of banjos in “Nao Caio Noutra (Better Next Time),” a tune that dates from 1881. “Feiteco (Enchantment)” begins with a Chopinesque waltz-like piano into before it takes off rhythmically, while “Coracao Que Sente (Sensitive Heart)” keeps its tender waltz rhythms throughout.

It is a set programmed to show off the possibilities of the choro, and it does so brilliantly. Flute and soprano sax player Marcelo Martins contributes some excellent solo work, as does guitarist Claudio Spiewak. Jorge Helder plays double bass, Rafael Barata, drums and percussion, and Marcos Suzano also works on percussion.

Both albums are scheduled to hit the street on May 6.

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