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Oberg's guitar is singing and screaming to be heard

March 08, 2007|Don Heckman | Special to The Times

GUITARIST Andreas Oberg arrived at Spazio in Sherman Oaks on Tuesday without much fanfare. Although he'd performed last weekend at DjangoFest in Laguna Beach and made an impressive appearance at Rising Jazz Stars in Beverly Hills, his visibility was below the view screens of most jazz fans.

But by the time Oberg had finished his first number with guitarist John Pisano, bassist John Leftwich and drummer Enzo Tedesco, it was obvious that the tall, blond Swede's relative obscurity in the U.S. cannot last.

Pisano's Tuesday guitar nights, always entertaining events, usually pair him with experienced, mainstream jazz players, and occasionally with a blues or fusion-oriented guitarist. Oberg covered all those bases. At 28, he has mastered everything from bebop and swing to bossa nova, Gypsy jazz and fusion, enhanced with youthful, rock-driven vigor.

That's not to say that his music was a hodgepodge. It was often an astonishing display of virtuosic playing. Although there were lines delivered with engaging lyricism -- the bossa nova classic "Manha de Carnaval," for example -- more often Oberg painted his improvisations with brilliantly colored notes.

When Oberg was joined by the fiery violinist Christian Howes for a few tunes, there was the clear sense of the arrival of a youthful new jazz genre. A recording by the duo is in the works. One awaits it eagerly.


Andreas Oberg

Where: Vibrato Grill Jazz, 2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel-Air

When: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Contact: (310) 474-9400

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