I find it more useful to think about chord tones plus extensions plus chromatics - modes are useful but can get in the way of instant composition.
Once you realize that there are only really 3 types of chord major,minor and dominant you can begin to work out all the options for extensions and notes you can play with the conventional tonal system.
I agree you should know them and listen/study Miles Davis modal stuff and how it evolved into the Mahavishnu and the way they have parallels with Indian raga improvisations. Just don't let modes limit your note choices.
Really the trick is to internalize all this information then forget it when you are playing and just flow. Easier said than done!