Remembering Chet

Chet Baker is remembered through his wonderful music. Finding an outfit which captures both voice and trumpet is a big ask. They nearly crack it. Colin Steele is front-line on trumpet along with Iain Ewing on vocals and accompanied by Euan Stevenson on piano at Edinburgh’s renowned Jazz Bar.

There’s so much to love about this gig. There’s something in the jazz rule book about clapping after solos and often we want to.

Opening with There will Never Be Another You, it’s clear from the first note why Steele is named in the same breath as Chet. The smooth, easy notes swing up there with the best, transporting us back to the smoky clubs of the West Coast of the fifties, where Baker became an icon of the ‘Cool’ school of jazz. My heart stood still. You Don’t Know What Love Is has a fleeting hint of the Miles Davis L’Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud.

Evidently Ewing too has studied the master well, his phrasing capturing that of the tragic soul who fell (jumped?) to his premature death in Amsterdam at the young age of fifty-eight. The jazz world was devastated, but not surprised. But disappointingly we hear none of this. Not even the names of the songs. Many there will be familiar with them and will know his story. But not all. It seems everything is, “A fast one...a slow one.” Baker was, “a flawed character with James Dean looks,” Ewing tells us. It would have been nice to hear more of that later, as tonight’s singer promised. And although Ewing’s soft voice is indeed reminiscent of Chet, it doesn’t quite capture that vulnerability, that fragility, which was a constant for the drug-addicted star. Maybe no-one can. Once or twice there’s a hint of Michael Bublé. And the joking references to U2 and others yank us back to the twenty-first century. Momentarily the thrill is gone. It would have been nice to stay for the hour in that nineteen fifties basement with the world frozen in time.

Glasgow-based pianist Euan Stevenson is, as promised in their listing, sublime. We hear precisely why he won the Emerging Artist Award in 2013 at the Scottish Jazz Awards. Gutsy on Time After Time, his comping is variously smooth and rich here, yet lifting on the up-tempo numbers. But Not For Me raises the spirits. “A cheerier number,” announces Ewing.

There’s so much to love about this gig. There’s something in the jazz rule book about clapping after solos and often we want to. But when we hear a solo like any one of those from Steele tonight, it’s hard not to just stay with that moment, barely breathing, let alone moving one hand to greet the other. So too with the piano, and almost so with the vocals.

Colin Steele was born too early to be Chet reincarnate. But he’s pretty damn close and this is a gig worth turning out for. But if you don’t know Chet before you come, read up a bit first. It will be worth it, even in busy festival time.

Reviews by Sue Bevan

Dixon Place

The Unwritten Law

The Jazz Bar

Remembering Chet

Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Have Fun

theSpace on North Bridge

Angel: Take This Body

Underbelly, Cowgate


Freestival St Mary's

Alasdair Lists Everything

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Many Chet Baker tributes celebrate the trumpet playing of the man, but rarely do you get that combined with his vocal talent too. Three of Scotland's finest musicians join forces to bring the music of the man to life. Colin Steele, one of Scotland's finest trumpeters, sublime piano accompaniment of Euan Stevenson and the smooth vocals of Iain Ewing combine to produce something truly magical. Well respected in their own right, expect something of a different class from this trio. Transport yourself back in time to a smoky jazz joint for some beautifully laid back, west coast jazz.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets