Classical guitarist Dominic Miller makes his ECM debut with a largely solo program. It's a gentle, lyrical affair, reflecting his experience living in Argentina, the United States, England, and France, as well as decades of international touring as a working musician. The Brazilian influence is especially strong in pieces like opener "What You Didn't Say" and "Baden" (dedicated to Brazilian guitarist/composer Baden Powell). Percussionist Miles Bould plays with a light touch, reminiscent of Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos' playing with guitarist Egberto Gismonti, an avowed influence for Miller.
On the surface "Urban Waltz" is neither waltz-like nor urban, but it's a lovely piece, as is "Angel." The music goes to a slightly more extroverted place with the drums and overdubbed second guitar and bass on "Chaos Theory"not a huge departure from the other tracks, but a nice bit of contrast. A lovely solo instrumental version of Sting's "Fields Of Gold" is the only explicit nod towards Miller's day job with Sting's band. The final tracks ("Tisane," "Valium" and "Le Pont") end with guitar solo, demonstrating Miller's goal to write song-like instrumental music. They all feature clear forms and regular rhythms, and they don't overstay their welcome.
The same can be said of the entire forty-one minute long program. Miller made lovely, measured music which is well served by the ECM aesthetic, including the sound of Oslo's famous Rainbow Studio. He establishes himself as a capable player/composer here. It will be interesting to see if he stretches out on future projects.
What You Didn't Say; Urban Waltz; Water; Baden; En Passant; Angel; Chaos Theory; Fields of Gold; Tisane; Valium; Le Pont.
Dominic Miller: guitar, electric bass; Miles Bould: percussion, drums.
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