Colin Steele Quintet: Even in the Darkest Places

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Colin Steele
LABELS: Gadgemo Records
ALBUM TITLE: Colin Steele Quintet
WORKS: Even in the Darkest Places
PERFORMER: Colin Steele (trumpet), Michael Buckley (sax), Dave Milligan (piano), Calum Gourlay (bass), Stu Ritchie (drums)


It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a disc by Scottish trumpeter Colin Steele and that’s because he’s been recovering his technique after some bad advice damaged his ability to play, taking him out of action for some years. This new album is worth the wait. The line-up is less overtly celtic than predecessor Stramash – without fiddles and pipes – with a focus now on the core jazz quintet.

That said, the harmonies are still laced with his trademark celtic lilt, fused with his own gentle tone. ‘Looking for Nessie’ presents a breezy Loch-side jaunt, spurred on by inventive shifts of bass rhythm from quintet newcomer Gourlay, while ‘Independence Song’ is a swinging highlight, with its catchy, soulful piano introduction from Steele’s long-time collaborator Milligan. Elsewhere, saxist Buckley interjects bebop-style solos. Harking back to the small-band formula of 2005’s Through the Waves, this disc is a welcome return to form.


Neil McKim