Colin Steele: Stramash

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Colin Steele
LABELS: Gadgemo Records
WORKS: Stramash
PERFORMER: Colin Steele (trumpet), Dave Milligan (piano), Phil Bancroft (sax), Aidan O’Donnell (bass), Stu Ritchie (drums) etc


In jazz terms, horn player Colin Steele is the ‘reel’ deal. His last album had a Scots flavour but now he’s gone the whole hootenanny. Stramash means a commotion or racket, but it’s a misnomer here.

The mixed line-up may appear unlikely on paper but Steele’s Celtic folk/jazz connection makes perfect swinging sense. Inspired by the Hebridean island of Islay’s landscape (not to mention its whisky), Steele has created vibrant and colourful charts that weave the two sounds brilliantly.


He draws out the best in the players with soloists combining the controlled energy of folk music with streaming jazz improvisation. The dizzily soaring strings come straight from a ceilidh – but as soon as the piano, drums and horns take up a chorus you are transferred into jazz country. When the two parts join up the synergy is nothing short of exhilarating. And when was the last time you heard pipes in the context of jazz? Garry Booth