Andreas Oberg: Uptown Downtown
Andreas Oberg (guitar)
My Favorite Guitars (Resonance Records RCD-1002)
Andreas Oberg (guitar),
Tamir Hendelmann (piano), Harish Raghavan (bass), Vic Stevens (drums).
Composed by Pat Martino.
Recorded: Beverly Hills, CA, September 2006
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
At age 29, Stockholm's Royal Music Academy alumnus Andreas Öberg has advanced to the fore of the burgeoning avant-garde European jazz scene for good reason: the cat is a monster. Those familiar with this young Swedish guitarist's aggressive virtuosity will be relieved to know that his latest effort, while more commercial in its appeal, doesn't target the listener's Kenny G-spot. On "Uptown Downtown," Andreas takes a funk-driven strut down 125th Street, blowin' hot all the way.
It takes moxie to tread on Pat Martino's turf, and Öberg is one of the few guitarists who can pull it off. He does so with tempered grace, delivering lightening arpeggios, deft sweeps and bubbly Benson-esque finger runs against Vic Stevens's solid backbeat before trading fours with Hendelmann in a not-so-cryptic nod to Eddie Harris's "Freedom Jazz Dance."
Purists need not demur – there's plenty of superb playing on this outing. While this is a great vehicle in which the neophyte listener can lose his or her jazz virginity, even virulent, hardcore boppers won't hate themselves in the morning.
Reviewer: Bill Barnes