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Dominic Miller - Vagabond (ECM)

17 April 2023

Though best known as the guitarist for Sting for three decades (and World Party and King Swamp before that), guitarist Dominic Miller has another, less bombastic side to him – one shown off by his albums for ECM, of which Vagabond is the third. Though a skilled and versatile player, Miller doesn’t make guitar records – he uses his instrument to compose songs, not showcases, to which he invites his band to contribute. Pianist Jacob Karlzon (Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone) adds rippling piano counterpoint to Miller’s melodies, to which drummer Ziv Ravitz (Lionel Loueke, Avishai Cohen) provides finespun rhythms; Miller’s longtime compadre and bassist Nicolas Fiszman shares a pulse so subtle you probably wouldn’t notice it unless it was missing. Tracks like the bright “Cruel But Fair,” the jazzy “Lone Waltz,” and the moody “Clandestin” paint genre-defying pictures on Vagabond like those conceived by bands like Oregon – expertly performed, instantly appealing and, after a few listens, often sublime.