Scotland’s Colin Steele has had a difficult journey. In the early years, he played with the likes of Scottish pop duo Hue and Cry and released four studio albums under his own name and with his folk jazz outfit Stramash. At one point, he sought to develop a new approach that would alleviate some physical issues he had experienced while playing and to broaden his range. His first attempt nearly destroyed him, altering his technique to such an extent, he developed muscle spasms in his throat when he performed which were so severe he was unable to play at all. Eventually, he found himself on a path to recovery with the help of BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet player, Mark O'Keefe, who coached him back into musical and physical well-being.
Time away from the circuit after many canceled gigs during his recovery and accumulating debt made his future seem rather bleak. One fan helped him change course by funding a new recording, and Steele’s career was back on track. “Robin's Song” from the aptly named 2017 album Even in the Darkest Places is a tribute to the person behind that act of benevolence. His influences range from Scottish folk music to funk, pop, and Latin music. His latest recording is a study in the music of the Glasgow-based indie group, The Pearlfishers, called Diving for Pearls. With his quartet, Steele’s interpretations of the group’s songs have been praised by the Guardian as “glistening modern jazz.”