All About Jazz (2008)
KWMU (2008) Interview/live performance
KDHX (2008) Interview/live performance
WSIE Jazz Station - Pat Grainey
KDHX -Stumble In The Dark KDHX -Nancy Kranzberg KDHX - Artist Spotlight with Nancy Kranzberg
KETC Channel 9 –Artist Spotlight w/t Imrat Khan
Spirit Seeker (2008) - Performance Review
St. Louis Today (2008) - blogâ€¨â€¨ Heaven Sense
Riverfront Times - Stringing Along - Feature
Riverfront Times - Imratgitar - Article
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention, and for jazz guitarist Todd Mosby, the imperative was to find a way to express his growing interest in Indian music with the guitar skills he'd spent a lifetime developing. The resulting invention was the imratgitar, a hybrid instrument that combines features of a guitar and a sitar and, according to its inventors, represents a new branch on the evolutionary tree of stringed instruments.
"For the first time, it allows Western musicians access to Eastern music, particularly Indian rag music, without changing instruments," explains Mosby, who shares credit for the innovation with his Indian music teacher Ustad Imrat Khan, who inspired and helped develop the concept, and Kim Schwartz, a luthier based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who built the first prototype and subsequent iterations of the design.
Khan, whose family has been involved in Indian classical music and instrument design for nearly five centuries, picked the woods for his namesake instrument and advised Mosby on what features were essential to meet his musical goals. "I made sure I got his stamp of approval on everything," says Mosby, who studied with Khan for five years. "I feel very honored to be the one to realize this dream for him."
The resulting design resembles a conventional guitar, but with the addition of a wing-like harp above the body to support a second set of sympathetic strings, which vibrate to produce additional harmonics. The imratgitar also includes a set of chikara strings, used to supply drones and rhythm, and a javari, a special type of bridge that imparts the buzzing tone commonly associated with the sitar. The original, acoustic version of the instrument also has moveable frets, which allow the player to bend the strings to distances far beyond what's possible on guitar. When the electric version was built, moveable frets proved impractical owing to tuning considerations; instead, a special scalloped fretboard was used to allow a greater degree of bend than a conventional guitar.
That ability to bend notes and introduce a vocal inflection into the music is a key characteristic of Indian music, and it's also crucial to the American art form of the blues, Mosby notes. "Blues is so well accepted because it's a vocal form of performance," he says. "They're pulling the strings like a human would sing."
Since the first prototype of the imratgitar was completed in 1998, Mosby has been refining the design and simultaneously learning how to play the instrument and incorporate it conceptually into his live performances. He's recently settled on a format for his shows that "starts with Indian music, then goes into Indian-jazz fusion, and then into more straight-ahead fusion with electric guitar," he says, and he plans to record a CD of solo music for the imratgitar later this year. In the meantime, Mosby will play the imratgitar during a series of performances every Wednesday night in January at Brandt's CafÃ© and Red Carpet Lounge in University City. â€” Dean C. Minderman
Riverfront Times - Lee Kelleman
There is an old credo among jazz musicians: "Imitate, assimilate, innovate." Woe to the musicians who strive for that last category. Public response can be luke warm and other musicians may scoff at them. St. Louis area innovators must usually leave home to succeed. Such musicians often find it tough to get financial support from local, well-established jazz and other music patrons.
This has sometimes been the fate of St. Louis guitarist Todd Mosby. His style fuses neo-bop with classical North Indian raga, Ozark regionalism, Electronic Experimentation and a playful dose of surfer and early 80â€™s new wave influences. "I basically started in a post punk /early wave band called Trained Animal back in the early 80â€™s,"says Mosby.
Today, Mosby calls himself an instrumental improviser: "As far as the jazz community goes, Iâ€™m not really accepted as a jazz artist. Whether Iâ€™m accepted or not , I really do not care. Iâ€™m working." He now earns nearly all his income from performance. Mosbyâ€™s acceptance/non acceptance predicament exemplifies a continuing rift in the jazz world. Itâ€™s a split between traditional mainstream acoustic jazz ( like what is played at St. Louisâ€™ Jazz At the Bistro ) and the jazz fusion branch that moved into electronic, rock and exotic instrumentation starting in the late 60â€™s. Fusion acts, if they even bother to stop in comparatively fusion-averse St. Louis, typically play Mississippi Nights or the American Theater. Mosby says, " I come from the Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery school of melodic guitarists," which includes Pat Martino, Pat Metheny and Emily Remler.
New Music Circular
Mosby Group to perform in Spring Concert
Todd Mosby Group to perform in Concert with special guest Joe Venegoni
Guitarist and composer Todd Mosby and his group will be joined by former St. Louisan Joe Venegoni for a concert of original composition when new Music Circle and the Forum for contemporary Art present the Mosby Group in concert at 8:00PM on Saturday, April 19 at the Forum for Contemporary Art, 3540 Washington.
Mosby, bassist Darrel Mixon, drummer Gary Sykes and special guest Joe Venegoni on Hammer Dulcimer will perform Mosbyâ€™s music for where Rivers Meet, a cross cultural project that incorporates Jazz, Classical and Folk influences as well as ideas that Mosby has developed through his studies with famed Indian musician, Imrat Khan. "Iâ€™m one of the only people on the planet playing Classical North Indian music on standard guitar," says Mosby. "Under Imratâ€™s guidance I have developed a totally unique way of performing solo guitar and new techniques for the instrument."
A former student of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Mosby is a versatile composer and performer who has written music for dance, video and film as well as performing Jazz, Rock, Classical and World Influenced music both solo and with various groups.
Mosby Group - East West CD Review
The jazz-fusion ensemble Mosby Group hails from St. Louis, and is led by master guitar player Todd Mosby, a gifted musician who combines searing jazz rock ala John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell, and Pat Metheny, with North Indian rag influences. Mosby utilizes electric guitar as well as the 20 stringed Indian instrument called the Imratgitar on the CD's seven lengthy pieces, and he is joined by a crew of other seasoned musicians to create an enjoyable listening experience of smoldering fusion music.
"North Star" kicks things off in fine fashion, a song sweetened by the wonderful Fender Rhodes of Adam Maness and the tasty guitar lines of Mosby. The rhythm attack of bassist Phil Burton and drummer Henry Claude add a nice funky groove to this very 70's sounding piece. Maness turns in a great Chick Corea-influenced performance on the 12-minute "Bhim's Palasie", where his gentle Fender Rhodes electric piano melodies float above the gentle jazz rhythms, eventually giving way to Mosby's blazing guitar runs. After the brief "Falling Water", which sees Mosby hitting gentle melodies on the Imratgitar, the band moves into the laid back jazz of "Heading West", a song that combines styles of be-bop, fusion, and Latin jazz, surely to please fans of Corea's work. Mosby delivers some speedy leads here that harken back to the glory days of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, while furious rhythms and spacey Fender Rhodes support him marvelously.
On "Kalian's Way", the band melds Indian rag with Eleventh House styled fusion, as Mosby performs some melodies on the Imratgitar and then lays down a searing electric guitar solo. The band lets it all out on the rampaging "Turn", a rocking fusion number featuring Mosby's distorted wah-wah leads, popping bass grooves from Carl Caspersen, nimble drum work from Ron Carr, and of course Maness and his magic Fender Rhodes. Fans of the Mahavishnu Orchestra will love this tune!
There you have it, a solid mix of calm and volatile 70's fusion styles, with some traditional Indian flavors added in for good measure. East West is highly recommended to fusion lovers of all ages.
Nice example of Intelligent Fusion
A tight rhythmic arrangement, that features distinct sections during all the 9 minutes and 23 of the recording, creates an elegant field for the guitar and the bass to dialogue with each other and with a soft, almost "dreamy" electric piano. The overall mood is a "positive" one, really interesting, a neat performance, well arranged and recorded. The real "topic section" of the song, where all the energy that's been accumulated by the instruments gets to "come out" is the Latin Jazz one, where the precussions and the guitar take the situation over, letting each musician involved show his talent. Sure not a tune that will be enjoyed by who's not in the Jazz / Fusion genre, but damn, who cares? A nice example of Intelligent Fusion.
Nice piece, well written, arranged, performed and produced. Very good stereo separation and clarity. Good dynamics and use of texture. Sweet melodies set the mood against interweaving rhythms, ostinatos and themes.
Chiming melodies that are simple but suggestive, provide a background to alternating feels and rhythms. The electric piano soloing under its breath and against the steady groove and chord progression provided by the bass -- well this just sets the stage for the percussion groove, and before you know it, we're off, launched into a guitar solo that has just as much going on rhythmically as melodically. I almost don't want to know where I will end up next, because each surprise, however subtle, is never disappointing. By 6:30 I am hoping we can keep this going a little bit more. And we come back home to the straight-ahead melodic themes played at the beginning.
I want to thank the band for not overplaying this song. This is fresh-sounding epic jazz, sophisticated and soulful. Delicious! -