Guitarist Andreas Oberg's lean and uncomplicated style is attractive to followers of the instrument in contemporary jazz circles to the point where he can command attention from many formidable players accompanying him. This star-studded album finds Oberg in great company, as it features drummer Lewis Nash, bassist John Patitucci, keyboardist David Kikoski, and some lesser knowns. The surprise addition is Darmon Meader from the New York Voices, not singing, but playing the tenor saxophone in a very competent, post-Michael Brecker style. Musically, Oberg is comfortable in fun funk, pop-jazz, or neo-bop settings, all heard on this diverse CD within a framework/showcase for his estimable talents. The ensemble covers pop tunes by Michael Sembello, Gino Vanelli, and Stevie Wonder, as well as the Les McCann/Gene McDaniels evergreen "Compared to What" with a switched-up beat. But it is on the merry montuno-to-neo-bop cover of the Pancho Sanchez composition "Papa Gato" where Kikoski and Oberg cut loose, while they join together on the bright Geoff Keezer-penned "Madame Grenouille." In Brazilian tones with his acoustic guitar, or alongside the pleasant and formidable Meader, Oberg proves compatible in styles that are more commercial, yet artistic. He's a work in progress, making inroads on developing a personal approach, and a player to watch for 2010 and beyond.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos