Instrumental composer, songwriter, and Imrat guitar innovator Todd Mosby is a storyteller and a landscape artist. He uses the guitar to whisk listeners away to a borderless realm where jazz, jazz fusion, North Indian classical, classical composition, bluegrass, bossa-nova, and folk-rock create transporting and transformative experiences. His latest album, Land Of Enchantment, is a gorgeous scrapbook of the visual, emotive, spiritual and cultural interactions Todd has personally experienced within the New Mexico region of the United States.
Todd is an acclaimed Indian and jazz guitarist influenced by St. Louis’s vibrantly varied cultural blend of Indian, African-American, and Americana traditions. He is one of the few musicians in America who has mastered three mountains of music; western composition, jazz improvisation, and Indian raga music, incorporating them freely as a part of his musical language. He attended Berklee College of Music as an undergrad, Webster University as a graduate student, and, for 13 years, studied classical North Indian music with Ustadt Imrat Khan in the most disciplined way. He has the distinction of being the only guitarist to become a member of the famed Imdhad Khani Gharana of musicians, India’s most prestigious family of sitar musicians dating back 500 to Tansen in the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar. From his years studying this rarified and sacred music, Imrat worked with Mosby to develop a unique guitar technique. This led to an innovative bridge instrument, the Imrat guitar, which has been undergoing design upgrades since 1997. Built by luthier Kim Schwartz to the performance standards of Mosby and the overall sonic palette of Imrat Kahn, the resulting hybrid 18-stringed sitar-guitar instrument allows for a cross-cultural East-West musical dialogue right at your fingertips and integrated into his musical vocabulary.
Todd’s compositions feature strong melodies, sometimes sung by female vocalists recalling the aesthetic of Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes; virtuosic but lyrical instrumental prowess; deep-pocket grooves informed by a variety of jazz, world, and rock-based traditions; and a deep sense of spiritual intent. To date, Todd has released 5 albums and one single. Along the way, he has earned raves from Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman; ZZAJ’s Dick Metcalf; India’s Music Ambassador Ustadt Imrat Khan; 17-time Grammy Nominee and jazz guitar legend Mike Stern; and Berklee College of Music President, 7-time Grammy Award Winner, and jazz legend, Gary Burton.
His journey in spirit and song is beautifully winding. Todd spent, or rather misspent, his formative teen years listening to James Taylor, Joni Mitchel and Jimmy Spheris while smoking pot and perfecting his drawing skills. Around the age of 14 he worked cutting firewood to buy his first guitar, and Alvarez acoustic auditorium. From there he began sitting in with friends at parties learning the folk rock tunes of the day. Later on he was turned on to the music of Billy Holiday, Lester Young, Errol Gardner and the Norman Grants series Live At The Philharmonic.