I’m delighted to announce that the Colin Steele Quintet, after a 10 year ‘rest’ are getting back together. The Quintet is made up of my dream team of Michael Buckley on tenor and soprano saxophones, Dave Milligan on piano, Calum Gourlay on double bass and Stu Ritchie on drums. I’m busy putting the finishing touches to a new set of tunes, and we will be doing a short tour in March 2015 (see below for dates). Shortly after this we will be going in to record what will be the quintet’s 4th album.
Edinburgh: Festival Theatre Studio, Friday 27th March, 8pm. Tickets £15 from
0131 529 6000
Falkirk Town Hall, Saturday 28th March, 8pm. Tickets £10 from 01324 506850
Glasgow: Cottier Theatre, Sunday 29th March, 8pm. Tickets £15 from 0141 357 4000
St Andrews: The Byre Theatre, Monday 30th March, 8pm. Tickets £12 from 01334 475000
Where did the last 10 years go? Well, Stramash took up a fair bit of time, as did the writing of a full set of big band music for the Edinburgh Jazz Festival Big Band. I also further developed my love affair with the music of Chet Baker, touring with the theatre show ‘A Funny Valentine’ extensively throughout the British Isles. Then, 4 years ago, I decided it was time to work on my rather poor trumpet technique, and misguidedly started taking some trumpet lessons over the internet. From my use of the word misguided, you may have guessed it didn’t go very well. The teacher, a top US trumpeter, insisted that an entire fundamental change in my trumpet technique was essential, but that it was easy and would take only a couple of months. I worked tirelessly on this new technique for 10 months until my playing muscles became so entirely confused that I got to the point where I could hardly choke out a note and my body - particularly my throat - would go into spasm at the thought of even attempting to play. At that point, in December 2010, I had no alternative but to cancel all my gigs for the foreseeable future. My ability to provide for my family disappeared in an instant - as well as my 2 older children I also had an 8 month old baby. It felt like the end of the road - I needed help, and it came in the form of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra 1st trumpeter Mark O’ Keefe. He heard through a mutual friend that I was in trouble - he didn’t know me or know of me, but he got in touch to say he was happy to give me as many lessons as were necessary and refused to take any money from me - there are such things as angels! It took just 4 months before I could start gigging again, there have been many ups and downs along the way, but I’m getting steadily stronger and will be forever indebted to Mark for his incredible generosity.
In November 2014 I went into the studio with vocalist Iain Ewing and pianist Euan Stevenson to record an album full of Chet Baker infused ballads. I was particularly happy with the creativity and intimacy we achieved, and I look forward to being able to share this music with the outside world, more info to follow!