2020 / Mosby Music Group
Review by Kathy Parsons
Todd Mosby’s Aerial Views is the third in a series of concept albums that highlight the natural elements. It is also the guitarist/composer’s third album to be produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. Considering the huge number of outstanding artists Ackerman has worked with over the past many years - first as the founder of Windham Hill Records (1976) and more recently at his Imaginary Road Studios - he said of Aerial Views: “This is as brilliant a recording as I have ever been associated with…” No small praise - and it's very well-deserved! Mosby’s first two albums in the series were Eagle Mountain (2016), a tribute to earth, and Open Waters (2019), which is dedicated to the seas. Aerial Views is a wonderful celebration of air and flight as well as for Mosby’s many childhood experiences co-piloting his father’s plane (starting at the age of six!). The twelve original tracks feature Mosby on acoustic and electric Imrat guitars (an 18-string guitar and sitar hybrid that he helped to develop), and acoustic and electric guitars. Several of the outstanding artists who often appear on Ackerman/Eaton productions also perform, including Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Premik Tubbs (lapsteel, wind synth, sax) and Michael Manring (bass).
Todd Mosby’s distinctive sound is, in part, the result of his immersive studies in traditional jazz as well as classical North Indian music and composition. He is the only guitarist to become a member of the famed Imdhad Khani Gharana, India’s most prestigious family of sitar musicians. His Open Waters album was named “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album of the Year” by both Zone Music Reporter and One World Music Awards. That album also won three silver Global Music Awards for “Best Instrumental Album,” “Best Acoustic Instrumental Album,” and “Best Concept Album of the Year” and was a finalist for “Best Instrumental Album” by International Acoustic Music Awards. Eagle Mountain also garnered an impressive group of awards and nominations. I would expect Aerial Views to do as well or even better.
The album begins with “Gliding,” a piece that beautifully expresses the sense of freedom that taking to the sky can inspire. “Across America” picks up the tempo for a great ensemble jazz piece that features Charlie Bisharat. The slow and very open “Aether” approaches being ambient, but there is a subtle and very graceful melody as Mosby’s acoustic guitar interacts with Ackerman (acoustic guitar), Manring, Haynes and Tubbs - a favorite! “Earth & Sky” is a good-natured toe-tapper. “Into Starlight” describes a magical night flight with a relaxed, hushed quality that is simply gorgeous - also a favorite. This track has Mosby on acoustic guitar, while Lola Kristine adds piano and haunting wordless vocals in addition to Manring (bass), Haynes (percussion) and Tubbs (wind synth). “Sailing Sylphs” is also slow, relaxed and smooth - I really like this one, too! “To The Sky,” a soft and gentle trio for acoustic guitar, vocals (Lola Kristine) and piano (Tom Eaton), is both minimal and profound. The title track takes us soaring above the clouds, able to see forever. Charlie Bisharat’s violin soars with us, along with bass (Tony Levin), drums (Jerry Marotta), percussion (Haynes), piano and vocal (Lola Kristine). The jazzy “Solo Flight” infuses a strong sense of fun and adventure into the quartet made up of Mosby (acoustic Imrat guitar), Tubbs (wind synth), Levin (bass) and Haynes (percussion). “Shining Lights” is the only track with lyrics. Sung by Lola Kristine with backing vocals by Kristin Hoffmann, it’s a joyful close to an outstanding album!
Aerial Views is available from www.ToddMosby.com, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Don’t miss it!
December 1, 2020