How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Andreas Oberg honors several of the most recognized guitarists in jazz through this contemporary outing, where his guitar speaks for generations and his smooth approach appeals to a broad audience. A full studio orchestra complements much of the program as Oberg's guitar floats effortlessly over the gathering.
An appealing Brazilian atmosphere pervades on "Aqui, Oh," where the leader's wordless vocals ride waves of warmth that wash over his acoustic guitar with pleasurable results. Oberg enjoys a fluid technique where notes run clear and distinct. When keyboard player Kuno Schmid steps forward, the contrast between his muddy cascades and the guitarist's clearly-defined runs is magnified.
With Oberg's ballad "Endless Love," acoustic guitar takes over with a folksong approach while the studio orchestra colors from a distance. With "Funky Tango" and "Waiting for Angela," it's the background instrumentation from the keyboards and the orchestra that occupy much of the focus. Oberg enjoys a better stride when paring it down and allowing his guitar to shine.
Elsewhere, as on "Uptown Downtown," "Villa Hermosa" and "Here to Stay," the guitarist finds his niche as he fits comfortably into Pat Martino's bag with all points covered. He's at his best when improvising alongside the small group and excluding the lush orchestra and surround-sound keyboard swirls.
Track Listing: Funky Tango; Troublant Bolero; Waiting for Angela; Aqui, Oh; Uptown Down; A.M. Call; The Changing World; The Trick Bag; Here to Stay; Endless Love; Villa Hermosa; Valdez in the Country.
Personnel: Andreas Oberg: guitar, vocals (4); Kuno Schmid: piano and keyboards (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12), keyboard bass (6); Tamir Hendelman: piano and keyboards (5, 8, 9); Marian Petrescu: piano and keyboards (6, 11); Kevin Axt, Harish Raghavan: bass; Vic Stevens: drums and percussion; others.