Paris-based jazzman on Ray Brown’s influence, working in Hollywood and more
By David Sands
In the years since he got his start playing gigs in New York and L.A. in the 1990s, jazz bassist Kyle Eastwood has established himself as a formidable performer and bandleader, as well as a jazz and film score composer. That’s no small task for anyone, but for him it’s also meant making a place for himself outside of the shadow cast by his legendary father, actor and director Clint Eastwood. Walking a path that‘s straddled hard bop and contemporary jazz (and at times skirted into fusion and electro-jazz territory), though, he’s done just that, winning over critics at publications like Downbeat and JazzTimes and commanding the respect of audiences in the U.S. and Europe.
After spending his early years as a session player, and going on to head up a quartet, Eastwood recorded his first solo album, From Here to There, a collection of standards and original songs, in 1998. His sophomore record, Paris Blue, released in 2005, was a major sensation in France, reaching all the way to #1 on the French Jazz Charts. Eastwood has recorded nine albums in all as a leader, most recently this year’s In Transit with a quintet consisting of himself, Andrew McCormack (piano), Quentin Collins (trumpet and flugelhorn), Brandon Allen (tenor and soprano saxophone) and Ernesto Simpson (drums) accompanied by special guest Stefano di Battista on saxes.
In addition to this, Eastwood has also worked extensively in film, having composed or contributed to many of his father’s movies, including Gran Torino and Letters from Iwo Jima, the latter of which got him (and co-writer Michael Stevens) a nomination from the Chicago Film Critics Association for best original score in 2005. With fellow composer Matt McGuire, he also contributed music to the 2014 documentary Homme Less.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman spoke with Eastwood about his formative years, the French jazz scene, composing for Hollywood and more during a meetup at the Detroit Jazz festival this past summer.
Watch our interview with Kyle!
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