Stockholm, Sweden, native Andreas Oberg is quickly becoming one of the most admired guitarists on the jazz scene today. Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times has noted that "Oberg has mastered everything from bebop and swing to bossa nova, Gypsy jazz and fusion, enhanced with youthful, rock-driven vigor. His playing is, at times, an astonishing display of virtuosity." His new CD, "Six String Evolution", presents the guitarist in the company of pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist John Patitucci, drummer Lewis Nash and singer/saxophonist Darmon Meader.
The new CD by reedman Azar Lawrence, "Mystic Journey", features his East Coast piano and bass players of choice, Benito Gonzalez and Essiet Essiet, and reunites him with alto saxophonist Gerald Hayes after 35 years. They are joined by the great Eddie Henderson on trumpet. Jazz fans agree Lawrence is playing better and harder than ever, invoking inevitable John Coltrane comparisons. His connection to 'Trane might have begun with his work with McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones, but on the new disc Azar is also joined by another Coltrane acolyte and free jazz legend Rashied Ali, who passed away just four months after making this recording.
Two other guitarists are out with new music: "Resonance" is the third recording from Yotam, featuring Christian McBride, Gregory Hutchinson and Roy Hargrove; and veteran Royce Campbell unveils his 26th recording as leader, "All Standards...And a Blues"; and a new self-titled disc from the Eastern Iowa quartet "Koplant No", who will be part of both the Iowa City Jazz Festival and KCCK's Jazz Under the Stars this summer.