Kyle Eastwood

Since 1998, when Kyle Eastwood’s debut album From There to Here was released, it has been 15 years. In that early stage of his career, the media seemed to be more interested in Eastwood’s paternal lineage (he is the son and actor-director Clint Eastwood). The four subsequent albums – 2005’s Paris Blue and 2005’s Now as well as 2009’s Metropolitan, 2011’s Songs from the Chateau, and the subsequent three others – have helped Eastwood build a substantial body of work, while also earning respect within musician circles. He releases The View From Here, his sixth album as a leader on JazzVillage. This shows that he is able to play both upright and electric basses, while also expanding into new territory that is as jazz-influenced as world music. The Carmel, California native has lived in Paris for eight years. “I have always loved music from other places,” he says. “Living here in France, you hear a lot North African and Middle Eastern music and you can hear those influences on the new recording.” Eastwood and his band are accompanied by a group of talented young musicians from London — Andrew McCormack, Graeme Blevins, Quentin Collins, Martyn Kaine, and pianist Andrew McCormack. They blend infectious grooves with outstanding improvisations across eleven tracks on The View From Here. Eastwood says, “They are all really talented players, and we have been playing together for quite some time, developing a great band chemistry.” Many of the new songs were written by us together, either during rehearsals or on the road while we toured Europe last year. Sometimes, I’d come up with ideas or Andrew might offer something. Then everyone would just add to it.” This cooperative process would result in many co-written compositions on The View From Here. The album opens with the polyrhythmic, percolating “From Rio to Havana”, which moves effortlessly from a clave-fueled groove into subtle samba rhythms. Blevins, Collins, and Eastwood form a strong frontline. Each contributes their own bold, swaggering solos, while Eastwood struts beneath on electric bass. McCormack’s catchy son munteno piano riffs at the tag bring this jazzy opener to a Latin Jazz conclusion. The melodic, mellow “For M.E.” was written by McCormack for Eastwood’s mother Maggie Eastwood. It is a slow, melodic number with the bassist performing a cleanly executed solo on an electric guitar. Collins’s solo is another powerful one. He displays the high-pitched bravado of Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan throughout the recording. The title track is rhythmically challenging and hinges on an ostinato melody played by McCormack on left hand piano and Eastwood on electric bass. Blevins and Collins, frontline partners, float in half-time on top of this urgent undercurrent, creating an ethereal effect. McCormack pushes the musical envelope with his amazing solo, while Collins builds to a bristling high note crescendo in his solo. Blevins adds his own flair to the mix with a fiery tenor-sax solo. “Sirocco,” named after the wind that blows across Europe from North Africa, opens with flamenco handclaps. Eastwood’s mesmerizing pulse is on an upright bass. The melody provided by the tenor/trumpet frontline transitions to the lyrical theme. McCormack explores this tempo-shifting vehicle, while Collins gives his best flugelhorn solo. Here, Eastwood shows off his ability and skill on the upright with a stunning bass solo. The mysterious “Luxor”, which opens with Kaine, a drummer, playing hand percussion along Eastwood’s bubbling electric basses lines. Blevins and Collins then play haunting long tones over the slow groove. This slow-evolving number features a stellar double time solo by Collins that harks back to his trumpet hero Freddie Hubbard. The band stops playing midway through the piece leaving McCormack free to explore the piece in dramatic fashion. Eastwood explains that Andrew and I wrote the song in our Paris apartment. He says that we were trying to get a bit of the “Tutu” vibe on that one. This refers to Miles Davis’ 1986 album, which was produced by Marcus Miller, bassist and composer. The upbeat, African-flavored “Une nuit au Senegal”, pulsates with dance energy. Collins and Blevins also engage in a call-and-response session over the infectious Afrobeat groove that Eastwood’s electric bass and Kaine’s persistent backbeat create. Eastwood shows off some impressive slap bass skills in this extended solo. Eastwood uses his 6/8 instrument “The Way Home” to showcase his unique woody toned upright and Kaine’s insistent beats. Blevins, an Australian-born tenor-saxophonist, builds a massive solo that reflects the passion of Chris Potter. Blevins plays the haunting theme “The Promise”, which is also used in Blevins’ soprano alto sax. Eastwood says, “That’s another one Andrew and I co-wrote during the same session that we wrote ‘Luxor’.” “We were just sitting in my apartment and coming up with melodies. It started as Paco de Lucia, but evolved into the music you hear today. It’s screaming for a movie soundtrack or something.” Eastwood plays the melodic “Mistral”, an electric bass melody. The piece builds gradually to a crescendo, with intense simultaneous soloing by trumpet u0026 tenor Sax. Eastwood’s “Summer Gone”, which opens with a salvo of harmonics, instantly triggers memories of Jaco Pastorius, an electric bass virtuoso. Eastwood states, “There’s always some Jaco’s playin’ creepin’ in.” “He was definitely a major influence when I started playing electric basses.” Eastwood shows off his incredible ability on the extended electric bass solo on this piano trio offering, while McCormack takes off on a harmonically provocative excursion with his extended piano solo. The collection ends on a funky note, with the earthy, Meters-flavored “Route de la Buissonne”, which is accentuated by Eastwood’s old-school upright bass groove and Kaine’s laid-back, New Orleans-flavored second line groove. Eastwood digs into his solo, showing the influence of Ray Brown who was an important mentor during his early years as a bassist. Eastwood recalls, “I started on electric in high school. I was just learning by myself.” Bunny Brunel was an important teacher to me, and I continued my studies with him for several years. He taught me how to read music, and he also helped me get started with the acoustic basses. Ray Brown taught me a few things about playing time, walking and other stuff. Ray is the source of everything I do on my upright bass now that has anything to do with walking or groove. He takes great pride in these credits, but his most personal, fully realized, and rewarding project is The View From Here, his current quintet offering. from

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