Dominic Miller: First Touch

On his debut solo release, First Touch (Earth Beat R2 72932; 38:37) Argentina-born guitarist Dominic Miller offers some absorbing, spacious acoustic music which shuns the cliches that relegate so much contemporary jazz to “background music” status. Listeners will recognize Miller’s delicate, resonant style on “Do You Want Me,” and “February Sun” from his work with Sting, including the popular ballad “Shape of My Heart,” which Miller co-wrote. Miller’s work in the pop music world (which also includes stints with the Pretenders, Phil Collins and Paul Young) has sharpened his focus on melody and emotion-evident here in “Buenos Aires,” a melody filled with wonder and regret, and the gentle “Eclipse.” Miller paints images in his tone-dark, abrupt and bluesy in “Rush Hour,” and wistful and sad in “David.” Gentle as it is, Miller’s music demands full attention-and wholeheartedly deserves it, as well.