A self-taught guitarist who was born and raised in Bombay, India, Mody moved to America at the age of 22 and immersed himself in the jazz scene. The last album of his I heard was 2020’s ‘An Idealist’s Handbook. Identity, Love and Hope in America’, and now we see him return with a five-track EP. The first four numbers are instrumental and see him leading his band of Benjamin Hankle (flugelhorn), Campbell Charshee (piano), Yuka Tadano (double bass), and Ronen Itzik (drums) while singer Kate Victor joins for the title closing track. Mody is well-known for fusing together his roots with jazz, but this release finds him moving away from his Indian classical background as this is more mainstream jazz with less experimentation or progressive tendencies. Mind you, it is not many jazz artists who have someone playing flugelhorn in their band so maybe he hasn’t moved too far away after all.
There is the togetherness which only comes from musicians who are used to playing together, and there is more warmth and interaction here than one hears when it is a group of session musicians brought together for one day only. Often the lead melody is carried by the horn and guitar together in unison, while they may veer away for the odd solo here and there. The title cut, containing vocals, is very different indeed, showing an aspect of the band we have not seen until that point, although Kate does have to insert herself into the proceedings and one wonders if this was originally written as an instrumental as there does not appear to be much room for her. Overall this is an enjoyable, although not essential, slab of fairly soft jazz.