Michael Diamond; Music Media & Focus
Patrons at a San Francisco Bay area venue, The Fenix in San Rafael, CA, were privileged to hear a world-class concert last night with guitarist Todd Mosby, bassist Michael Manring, and their New Horizons Ensemble. I was there with my good friend Steven Halpern and we were both blown away by their innovative blend of jazz, new age, and world music that included many tracks from Todd’s latest album, “On Eagle Mountain.” Todd is a well-known and highly regarded musician in St. Louis where he is from. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays a unique custom-made electric guitar/sitar hybrid instrument. In my recent feature article on Todd’s album, I called him “a guitarist’s guitarist,” and last night I got to witness that first hand.
Fretless bass wizard Michael Manring opened the show with a jaw-dropping solo bass set that confirmed my suspicions that he is not of this world. No mere human can play the bass like that! Joining Todd and Michael was Premik on sax and electronic wind instrument who has played with the likes of Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Whitney Houston, and many more including with Sting at Carnegie Hall. Laying down the groove was the amazing percussionist Jeff Haynes, who has played with Pat Metheny, Cassandra Wilson, and others. Jeff, Premik, and Michael are also frequent collaborators on sessions at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios, where Todd also recorded his album. In addition, last night’s ensemble included husband and wife team of guitarist Bryan Toben and keyboardist/vocalist Lola Toben, who Todd referred to as the hottest duo in St. Louis.
The musicianship of this all-star group was off the charts. The ensemble was remarkably tight, especially considering that they came together from different parts of the country to do this show, and do not perform together regularly. The songs ranged from more laid-back Windham Hill-inspired melodies to up-tempo grooves with stellar solos from Todd and Premik. While it was primarily instrumental music with occasional ambient background vocals, a surprise of the evening was when the group accompanied Lola who sang a stunning rendition of Neil Young’s “Down By The River.” All in all it was a memorable and rare event with many wow-moments. Anyone who is interested to get an idea of what sounded like should check out Todd Mosby’s beautiful “On Eagle Mountain” album.
Pacific Sun, August 24, 2016
"The group, which Mosby calls “a once-in-a-lifetime ensemble,” also includes Grammy-winning percussionist Jeff Haynes, multi-instrumentalist Premik Russell Tubbs and Bryan and Lola Toben, a duo from St. Louis, on vocals, piano and guitar.
They create a dreamy, melodic blend of Western jazzy-folksy, new age acoustic guitar music, with Eastern percussive rhythms and shimmering Indian sitar-style riffs; some songs are slow, soulful and raga-like, others are upbeat, bouncy and jazzy.
“We’re trying to find balances between old and new, high-tech and low-tech, improvisation and pre-planning, East and West, complexity and simplicity, emotion and intellect,” says Manring. To do this, they have both created unique new instruments."
Music Media & Focus
“Todd Mosby is a guitarist’s guitarist whose exceptional compositional sensibilities and impeccable playing technique create one of the most compelling albums I’ve heard in a while. Todd’s skills as an arranger are inspired. “
“The range and integration of Todd’s diverse influences is exceptional which led Will Ackerman himself to say of Todd: “Somehow he manages to synthesize these disparate elements into a singular musical voice that is unique in my experience… and ‘unique’ is not a word I throw out easily or frequently.”
“While On Eagle Mountain will certainly have a wide appeal, I would say that anyone who loves guitar music in particular, should not miss this one! The album is a mélange of exotic ingredients that alternately sizzle and simmer to delight the musical palate with flavors of new age, contemporary instrumental, jazz, and world music.”
“I was consistently impressed with everything I heard over the course of this listening experience and have no doubt that this album will bring a much wider recognition and appreciation for the talents of guitarist Todd Mosby.”
“This particular body of work revolves around a central locality theme of a mystical mountain where the elemental, animal, crystal/mineral and spiritual kingdoms resides.”
“The project evolved from a personal experience growing up, in and around various mountain settings (Colorado, North Carolina, Missouri Ozarks), an acquired spiritual wisdom and understanding and a need to translate into musical sound what I experience emotionally and metaphorically.”
“Todd’s elegant and expressive solo guitar playing is equally enchanting on its own.”
"There is a lot of this stuff floating around, but Mosby’s command of the Imrat guitar and some dynamic compositions puts him well ahead of the crowd."
"He is a wiz at meshing Indian raga and western modalities, something that is amazing since they are based on a different approach to tonality. He somehow manages to find the similarities and differences and bring them together."
"Todd’s guitar gives voice to the union of souls."
"Todd Mosby lives in Missouri, but his talent and education are far reaching. He studied guitar, improvisation and composition at the cultural center of the universe in Boston at the Berklee College of Music and spent years under the guidance of Usdtad Imrat Khan, Brian Jones and George Harrison’s first sitar teacher."
New Age Music Reviews Founder
“Todd Mosby creates an intriguing combination of new age, jazz and world music on his new release On Eagle Mountain.”
“Spirit Dancer” is a multicultural brew of new age with some infusion of smooth jazz topped off by hints of world to make it a distinct crossover flight.
“Perhaps the deciding factor that made this entire listening experience coalesce for my ears and spirit was how Todd took his guitar and added all the other instruments to make On Eagle Mountain a delight to fall into, like your favorite comfy chair.”
“On Eagle Mountain took me down a road that made me feel alive and free just like the open sky and mountains ranges that adorn our land.”
“Music that is that powerful needs recognition and validation.”
One World Music; Owner, programmer
"Many who know me, will know that the guitar was my first love and now I have three here with me that I should play more than I do, so it is with great delight that I am sitting here in glorious sunshine, taking a listen to, and reviewing this latest work of Todd Mosby.
I have featured this release a few times in my shows; it is utterly picturesque and ambient beyond words. Listen to the opening of the album called Spirit of the Mountain and you will see exactly what I mean, in fact Mosby has captured perfectly the spirit of any mountain in this delightful starting piece.
Mosby has used the wizardry team at Imaginary Road to produce this stunning release and on the composition Eagle Mountain we can here that supreme and fluent mastery at work. Mosby has such a rich style of playing; it is like he is painting images whilst performing. Listen out for the delicious bass (Michael Manring) and gently rhythmic percussion (Jeff Haynes) here too.
On Eagle Mountain by Todd Mosby is much, much more than just an acoustic guitar album, here is an offering produced by the dream team of Eaton and Ackerman, it combines and contains some of the best musicians in the world today, to add extra layers and textures to a really beautiful release, I for one will be enjoying its tones and harmonic bliss for a long while and as such I have absolutely no problem recommending this to you too. On Eagle Mountain is an album that has been created out of love, manifested with a perfect sense of attention to detail, and through this perfection, one can truly be a grateful passenger with the artists along the way."
Imaginary Road Studios, multi grammy winner, founder Windham Hill Records
Senior member if India's oldest and most prestigious sitar Gharana.
Composer, Improvisor, Vibraphonist
Lifetime Cellist for Paul Winter Consort
After over performing on some of my base tracks this is what Eugene had to say:
New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music professor
Pianist, Composer, Painter, Owner Little Hartely Music
Sea Of Tranquility