For the majority of his career, Argentinean-born guitar player Dominic Miller has used his immense talents to support of other artists. Probably best known as вЂњStingвЂ™s Guitarist,вЂ� a title he bears proudly, MillerвЂ™s unique acoustic sound can also be found intertwined among the work of artists such as Phil Collins, Level 42, The Pretenders, Chris Botti, The Chieftains and even the Backstreet Boys, to name a few. Even with constant demands on his time and talent, Miller manages to find a few moments for his own solo efforts. His latest album, November (Q-Rious Music), reveals a decidedly different side of Miller.
Miller ventured into new territory with November, renewing his relationship with the electric guitar, eliminating vocals entirely, and unplugging all of his fancy studio gear. The numbers on November were recorded in a matter of days and document MillerвЂ™s current position in his musical journey. When I asked him about his decision to produce an all-instrumental album in my interview with him last week, Miller replied вЂњI like the contrast of working what is arguably one of the best day jobs in the world, and then doing something that is the exact opposite of that, which is just instrumental music.вЂ� Whatever his reasons, the result speaks for itself.
November includes 11 tracks of guitar-driven instrumentals; the players backing Miller include drummer Ian Thomas, bassist Mark King, keyboardist Mike Lindup, pianist Yaron Herman, flautist Dave Heath, sax player Stan Sulzmann and keyboardist Jason Rebello. Many tracks represent вЂњfirst takeвЂ� recordings, and Miller told me he preferred to keep all the imperfections intact. вЂњThere are actually some mistakes if you wanted to really analyze it, some tuning issues and thereвЂ™s some tempo issues,вЂ� he offered. вЂњThe ProTools generation has just ruined everything, вЂ?cause everything is like perfect now. Imperfection is what makes something beautiful. ItвЂ™s the contrast of perfection and imperfection that makes something work.вЂ�
Stylistically, November is much as Miller fans would expect, starting off with the nylon string acoustic guitar-dominated вЂњSolent,вЂ� which, less than a minute in, hits you with a bit of tasty electric guitar work. Just when you think youвЂ™ve got it figured out, вЂњW3вЂ� kicks off with a hardcore, Earth, Wind and Fire-reminiscent funk groove. Even then, Miller keeps changing things up by adding a jazz fusion flavors to the mix. This trend continues throughout November, giving it an eclectic personality. My vote for the standout is cast for вЂњMarignane,вЂ� its dark tone and attitude marked by a sweet sax solo.
Miller sums up Novemeber best: вЂњOne of the rewards of working with so many great artists, like Sting, is that I have the ability to do records like the one I just did, without worrying about sales. I have the luxury of not having to answer to any marketing or anyone elseвЂ™s expectations. So, really I just do what I likeвЂ¦вЂ�
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