17th March 2017
Even In The Darkest Places
1. I Will Wait For You / 2. Looking For Nessie / 3. Suite For Theo / 4. Robin Song / 5. Independence Song / 6. There Are Angels / 7. Down To The Wire
Even in the Darkest Places heralds a welcome return for trumpeter Colin Steele, who was once described as the Sibelius of Scotland, and his band - Michael Buckley (saxophone), Dave Milligan (piano), Calum Gourlay (bass) and Stu Ritchie (drums). Since the Quintet's last release, Through the Waves (2005), the trumpeter has been through some turbulent times and the story surrounding Even in the Darkest Places is one of determination on Steele's part and the generosity and kindness of strangers on the other. When, in 2011, Colin Steele took the decision to improve his playing technique he could not have foreseen the events to come. Not only did he feel that his range was limited but every time he played, his mouth would get badly cut and was taking longer each time to heal, so he sought the guidance of a highly recommended American trumpeter. The decision proved disastrous as he was persuaded to completely change his trumpet technique and over the following months his muscles became increasingly confused, his throat muscles eventually going into spasm rendering him incapable of playing at all. With his livelihood in the balance he was eventually introduced to Mark O'Keefe, principal trumpet player with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Not only did O'Keefe offer his services for free, he also saved Steele's career. When Steele was able to begin playing again, he found himself with very little work - he'd had to cancel all his gigs, as he was literally unable to play - plus he had also accrued a fair amount of debt. Recording a new album was out of the question and had it not been for a fortuitous gig in a pizza restaurant, Even in the Darkest Places would never have seen the light of day. Steele happened to be playing in the restaurant when a fan came up and asked why he hadn't released an album for a while. They got talking and when Steele told him of his recent troubles he offered to help by financing a new recording. The track Robin Song is dedicated to this incredible act of generosity and is something that Steele will be forever thankful for. Even in the Darkest Places is comprised of 7 original tracks, all composed by Steele, and arranged by Dave Milligan, his long-term collaborator. His ear for melody has always been a key element of his work and is still much in evidence here.