Dominic Miller

Dominic Miller
Dominic Miller: Christoph Bombart.

When Sting’s guitar player puts out a solo album, guitarists listen. Having played on thousands of sessions, Dominic Miller’s 16th solo recording strides the contemplative, the poetic, and the melancholy. Performed amidst a trio of top-tier musical expressionists – Jacob Karlzon on keys, Nicolas Fiszman on bass, and Ziv Ravitz on drums – Vagabond is a moody, atmospheric, instrumental record that highlights sensitivity, intuitive improvisation, and the rhythmic chemistry between players. The acoustic guitar is Miller’s paintbrush of choice as his hands effortlessly manifest waves of lush arpeggiation with sophistication, feel, and dynamics.

Compositions like “All Change,” “Cruel But Fair,” and “Open Heart” reveal a universe of thoughtful meditations and serene harmonic extrapolations. Miller and Karlzon intertwine seamlessly as they complete each other’s phrases and jockey effortlessly in tandem with sublime voice leading, sometimes untethered from the bonds of time. “Clandestin” and “Mi Viejo” are loaded with humanity and rich chord melodies, while “Lone Waltz” shows Miller riffing on a theme joined by Fiszman, Ravitz, and Karlzon.

Vagabond is demanding, yet supremely rewarding, offering artistic insight to Miller’s musical pathology. Perhaps too somber for some, the album shows him digging deep, and his guitar tones are to die for.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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