With the 53rd annual Monterey Jazz Festival set to begin Friday, I am posting a series of features on some of the weekend’s artists.
I know exactly where I will be at 9 p.m. Saturday: At the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Night Club venue catching Kyle Eastwood.
As noted in an earlier posting, I got turned onto the Eastwood via his “Paris Blue” album and have come to enjoy not just his jazz but also the music he writes for dad Clint’s films. There’s another reason to check out the bassist’s MJF set; that is, despite being raised in Northern California, he rarely plays here.
That’s explained in a just-out Seattle Times profile. Here ‘tis.
For most of the year, bass player Kyle Eastwood lives in Paris, a city that suits his musical inclinations and has helped shape them. He plays regularly around the continent, where audiences are more apt to recognize his music than audiences at home in the U.S., where he performs less frequently.
So despite a career that often requires his presence in Los Angeles, where he has written several film scores for his father, movie star and director Clint Eastwood, he calls Paris home. His teenage daughter Graylen, a budding musician herself, attends school there.
“I have a lot of musicians here to play with,” Eastwood said last week by phone from Paris, where he has lived for the past five years. “They play jazz, but they are also into a lot of different kinds of music, R&B, funk, a lot of things. I think musicians here are pretty open minded.”
Fresh from recording his fourth album for the European label Candid Records, Eastwood, who is 42, will perform at Jazz Alley for two nights starting Tuesday with his quintet, the Kyle Eastwood Band (drummer Joe Strasser, pianist Rick Germanson, Jim Rotondi on trumpet and Jason Rigby on sax), New-York based musicians with whom he has toured over the years.
Like Parisian musicians, Eastwood says, French music fans have eclectic tastes. “People here in general are a little more open to what they listen to,” Eastwood said of European audiences. “It’s not so segregated. Even on the radio over here, you’ll hear a jazz tune, then you’ll hear some hip-hop and modern stuff.”
His music can be described the same way, grounded in the history and traditions of the jazz he heard all his life growing up in Carmel, Calif., but also reflective of his curiosities and life experiences. His 2005 album “Paris Blue” has tracks with funk and techno rhythms and harmonies that bring to mind music of North Africa and the Middle East.
His follow-up record, “Now” (2006), further displayed his talent for crossing genres. Part club music, funk, pop and contemporary jazz, the album featured vocals and plenty of electronic instrumentation. His 2009 album “Metropolitain,” another musical ode to Paris, attempted to evoke the years he spent there with jazz interpretations of pop, samba, heavy funk and moody ballads. Eastwood said his group will likely play various selections from those albums during his two nightly sets at Jazz Alley, where he last played with the jazz fusion pianist Jeff Lorber.
If his music has one unifying tag, it is atmosphere. His songs are heavy with it, whether upbeat or sullen, a logical consequence given his background in cinema. As a child, he appeared in a few of his father’s films and later attended college at USC intending to study film before deciding to become a musician.
Clint Eastwood is a lifelong fan of jazz and not a bad jazz pianist himself (Clint Eastwood whistled on one song from “Paris Blue”). Kyle went to the Monterey Jazz Festival every year with his father (who attended the very first festival in 1958) and listened to music constantly at home. Because his father was a celebrity, young Kyle got to meet many of the great musicians of the day and got into jazz clubs he might not have gotten into otherwise.
Having a famous father, he said, “can sort of give people a preconceived idea of who you are and what you’re doing. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I try not to worry about it too much.”
Want to keep up with the best in Bay Area jazz?
Subscribe to us: Have our jazz Examiner columns sent to your inbox. Click SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL on the button above this column. It’s free. (And we won’t spam you or give out your information.)
Bookmark us: http://echoflam.com/x-12458-Oakland-Jazz-Music-Examiner
Make us your home page, add us as a Favorite Examiner (see above), take us mobile at