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An Idealist's Handbook
Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020


Artist: Noshir Mody
Label: CD Baby
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 03 July 2020

Guitarist, Noshir Mody, releases his new LP, An Idealist's Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope in America 2020, a jazz-based album with philosophical and hopeful lyrics layered over strong melodies, versatile guitar playing, and warm vocals by Kate Victor...

An Idealist's Handbook is not your standard jazz based LP. Less self indulgent nonsense and more a beautifully honed project that will chase your blues away - and God knows, we need something to take our minds off a seemingly never ending stream of misery in the current climate.

Over the course of these 10 tracks (46 min, 35 sec) Noshir Mody unleashes his slick guitar moves as the album rumbles on. What's impressive here is how generous Mody is with the limelight. Given that its his name on the album, his guitar playing never overshadows the rest of the band. In fact, it's probably Kate Victor's vocals that are front and centre when she appears.

While I enjoyed all the tracks on this album, I have to single out 'Ol' Splitfoot', which feels more polished and really does allow Mody's playing to shine through. This is the one track where everyone seems to have found their groove and the end result, as the saxophones dance around each other, is just wonderful to experience.

There was one moment where I was briefly disappointed. The opening track 'Radha' has a segment where all of the instruments take it in turn to perform a short solo segment. The guitar piece was, on a couple of occasions widely off with the rest of the band. I know it's jazz and that sort of thing is pretty much acceptable, but it still grates, especially when it's at odd with the rest of the album.

On balance this is a wonderfully produced jazz album with a lot of depth.


Nick Smithson

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