Colin Steele Quartet – Diving For Pearls (2017) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Colin Steele Quartet – Diving For Pearls (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 47:31 minutes | 962 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Marina Records

This project – a tribute to an obscure Glaswegian indie band by an equally obscure Edinburgh jazz musician – is an oddly satisfying exercise in wilful Caledonian obscurity. The Pearlfishers, led by David Scott of the BMX Bandits, have been recording dreamy, elegant, adult-oriented pop since the early 90s, pitched somewhere between Brian Wilson, Steely Dan and Prefab Sprout. Colin Steele, the self-taught trumpeter behind his own Scottish-accented modern jazz quintet and jazz-folk outfit Stramash, here dismantles 10 of Scott’s cleverly written songs and reassembles them as glistening modern jazz, his Harmon-muted trumpet turning the melodies into a pleasantly chromatic blur. It would be fascinating to hear Steele apply this approach to the music of other indie bands, Scottish or otherwise.

Marina Records proudly presents one of its most unusual and best releases yet: The music of The Pearlfishers, one of Marina’s most beloved acts, gets the royal jazz treatment in exciting new arrangements by the Colin Steele Quartet. Continuing a great jazz tradition – like Miles Davis with „Porgy & Bess“ (’58) and Chet Baker with „Plays Lerner & Loewe“ (’59) – the entire album is dedicated to the work of one composer – David Scott of The Pearlfishers. Colin Steele from Edinburgh, one of UK’s leading jazz trumpeters, adds his very own sound and interpretations to Scott’s songs and transports them into a brand new musical territory. Steele has a long association with The Pearlfishers since he appeared as a studio musician on many of their albums. Steele: „I’d played on many sessions with The Pearlfishers before, and have a similiar taste in music with David Scott, with our shared love of Burt Bacharach, Beatles and Beach Boys. I was impressed by the depth of the beautiful melodies and could immediately hear my own voice playing these melodies – specifically using the ‘Miles Davis sound’ of the Harmon mute.“ The results are simply gorgeous. The album kickstarts with the joyous blast of „The Bluebells“ – a song that originally appeared on the Pearlfishers album „Up With The Larks“. Colin Steele makes it swing and rise just beautifully. His warm, melodic playing and tone is also a perfect match for the wonderful „Everything Works Out“, one of Scott’s most enduring songs. „The Vampires Of Camelon“ rides on a great piano riff reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi – brilliantly played by Dave Milligan, Steele’s long-time collaborator, who also arranged the album. Quite fabulously so. „Ice Race“ – from the Pearlfishers’ seasonal album „A Sunflower At Christmas“ – gets propelled to new heights by the powerhouse drumming of Alyn Cosker. It just grabs you and won’t let you go. „Gone In The Winter“ is a superb showcase for the exceptional deep-toned, warm double-bass playing of Calum Gourlay. Just stunning. The piano intro of „The Umbrellas Of Shibuya“ quite fittingly recalls the stripped-down beauty of Ryuichi Sakamoto. And then Steele breezes in with the fantastic melody and his imaginative playing. The album comes to a perfect close with the blissful coda „Swan Dreams“ (originally from „Sky Meadows“). Simply sublime. „Diving For Pearls“ was recorded in just one day – like many of the greatest jazz albums – at Scotland’s famous Castlesound studios (The Blue Nile, Orange Juice, R.E.M.). Masterfully engineered by Stuart Hamilton. You really get the „in-the-room-with-the artist“ feel. Dive, baby, dive!

01 – The Bluebells
02 – We’ll Get By
03 – Everything Works Out
04 – The Vampires of Camelon
05 – Ice Race
06 – You’ll Never Steal My Spirit
07 – Gone in the Winter
08 – Snow on the Pines
09 – The Umbrellas of Shibuya
10 – Swan Dreams

Colin Steele – trumpet, flugelhorn
Dave Milligan – piano
Calum Gourlay – double bass
Alyn Cosker – drums