Born: December 13, 1951 Primary Instrument: Keyboard
Originally from St. Louis, MO., Doug Millaway moved to the upper midwest about 18 years ago. Since then, he has moved from the gigging artist to the studio. His current project is with fellow musician Rob Denton. Rob is originally from Florida, but has lived in Texas and Minnesota as well. Doug plays the keys and Rob is the guitarist. Together they make up Third Level.
Third Level plays what the duo have come to call enigmatic jazz. The concept that each composition revolves around change and free-flowing possibilities is what makes their mix innovative. The songs range from smooth jazz to vast soundscapes. The only way to truly understand what enigmatic jazz is, is to experience it.
All of Third Level's recordings are done in a home studio dubbed Blind Owl Productions. Over the years, a variety of medium have been used to capture the unique sounds of the group. Currently, Millaway uses a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) powered by a personal computer and a professional recording interface.
Rob Denton has played guitar nearly all his life. He has a natural ear for improvisation. His arsenal of axes consist of models by Fender, Hagstrom, Parker, Samick (Greg Bennett), Epiphone, and Reverend. His guitar processor of choice has been a Behringer V-Amp. He also has used a Pod Pro and his Fender and Line 6 amps.
Rob uses a variety of picking techniques as he plays that has the effect of altering the output in dramatic ways. He is forever working the volume and tone switches, as well as alternating the various pickup combination in search of the right sound. It is not unusual for Rob to spend 20 to 40 minutes searching for his sound before attempting a take on a track. It is this precision that leads to consistent and quality output from one of the best Minnesota guitarists you can find.
Doug Millaway relies on his intuitive ability to combine sounds and instantly hear a part that is missing in a tune. It is not his playing that makes the Third Level projects work, it's his sense of how to build a musical concept.
Millaway usually lays down all the basic tracks of a song before Denton comes into the picture. He uses his arsenal of keyboards and softsynths to create intricate beds for Denton to play with. Millaway uses a Yamaha S80 as his controller keyboard. His other rack keyboard modules includes the Novation A-Station, the Roland JV-1010, and his all-time favorite, the Korg N1R.
In addition, Doug Millaway occasionally trots out his Martin Shenandoah acoustic guitar to flavor a track. Millaway has been playing guitar since he was 13 years old. Many an evening were spent banging out blues chords and terrifying the neighbors from his front porch in suburban St. Louis, MO. Doug also owns a Samick (Greg Bennett) Les Paul copy.
In recent years, Millaway has been involved in a truly International Music Endeavor involving musicians from Australia, Canada, Italy, and the United States.
As time progressed, the two original Third Level musicians felt a need to expand their sound, and as a result, invited Canadian saxophone player Bob Johnson to join the ranks. The result of that collaboration was the CD entitled CONNECTED.
Bob Johnson also plays with another internet collaborative project called The Funkdawgs. TLP recruited the Funkdawgs drummer, Filippo Bertacche, to join the group, and he agreed.
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to locate a bass player that seemed to understand what the music was all about, Paul Wheeler from Australia came onboard.
The group recently released a new collection of tunes that is titled Global Earfare. The cooperation amongst the group members is incredible because we have encouraged an atmosphere that is laid back and pressure free. Individuals work on the music when it fits their schedule in their own environment, and it seems that enhances everyone's performance.