Guitarist Dominic Miller dropped in to the 606 last night for a rare London gig. Famously Sting‘s right-hand-man since 1990, Miller was also the original guitarist in Level 42 after hooking up with keyboardist Mike Lindup and drummer Phil Gould during his time at the Guildhall School of Music. He joined Lindup again here to perform tracks from recent album November which also features Level bass player Mark King as well as UK jazz masters Jason Rebello on keyboards and Stan Sulzmann on sax.
Those who saw Miller onstage with Sting in the ’90s may have been a bit surprised by his rather low-key appearance here – gone are the flowing locks and Rock God poses of yesteryear. Instead he sat modestly throughout the gig, smiling regularly and clearly totally at ease in the intimate environment of the 606 which was packed to the rafters. There was also a serenity to many of his compositions, mainly built around odd-time rhythm patterns and Eastern scales. Lindup provided rock-solid accompaniment on acoustic piano with the odd foray onto an ancient-looking Fender Rhodes, and he consistently found intriguing counterpoints to the often quite linear arrangements.
Miller’s lead guitar playing was always tasteful but fluid with a big, creamy tone, sounding at times like a fusion of Andy Summers and Steve Khan. A very restrained version of early Level 42 classic ‘Love Meeting Love’ brought a few murmurs of approval from the punters and was a pleasant foray into more groove-based material though it somehow lacked the momentum of the original. Bassist Nicolas Foszman delivered a wonderfully brooding and melodic five-string solo as the set came towards an end. All in all, an enriching evening full of pleasant, expertly-played music by top-draw musicians, and a refreshingly-different kind of ‘jazz’ gig.