'The Eastwood Characteristic'
Bassist/composer/arranger Kyle Eastwood (son of actor Clint) released his 4th CD as a leader, 'Metropolitan', on Mack Avenue Records this past June. Recorded at Studio Ferber in Paris, France and co-produced by Erin Davis (son of Miles) and by Eastwood's longtime writing partner, Michael Stevens, the session features pianist Eric Legnini, trumpeter Till Brönner, drummer Manu Katché, and special guest, French vocalist Camille.
'Metropolitan' came together over a week of rehearsals and four days in the studio. The title track encompasses the band's creative philosophy perfectly. "My initial idea for this song was a funk bass line that ended up becoming the intro piano motif," Eastwood says. "Then came the chord changes which Michael Stevens and I wrote the main melody over. Erin Davis had some ideas for the general drum groove, and the rest came together in the studio. I really love Camille's contribution to the song."
Kyle Eastwood grew up in Carmel, California and is the son of actor-director Clint Eastwood. While doing his homework, Kyle remembers listening to records of jazz icons such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis.
Initially studying film, Kyle soon realized that jazz was his true passion. After years of paying his dues gigging around Los Angeles and New York, his debut album From Here To Therewas released on Sony in 1998.
In 2004, Kyle signed to Candid Records, one of the leading independent jazz labels in the UK, and released his second album Paris Blue. The album climbed to No. 1 on the French Jazz charts. Kyle's third album Now was released in 2006. It features songs written by Ben Cullum and collaborations with BBC Jazz Award winning pianist Andrew McCormack, as well as other musicians who make up the who's who of the London jazz scene.
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of speaking (rather quickly, as it turned out!) with Kyle Eastwood about his love for jazz, his musical influences, and, of course, penguins!
Your music has a clear American-jazz style. So, who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus, and Dave Brubeck."
Being that you studied film at the University of Southern California for two years, were your original ambitions to follow your fathers acting footsteps, perhaps? "No, acting ... but directing was the goal."
And, being that you shunned film (after undertaking a couple of small roles) to concentrate on music, releasing your first solo CD on 1998, have you ever looked back and wondered what it would have been like movie-role wise had you taken the path to the big screen? "No."
Being that jazz music became your primal focus early on, were you first enlightened to the genre at home growing up, perhaps? "Yes, that's when I first heard Herbie, etc. Both my parents are jazz fans."
You've since contributed seven works of music to your fathers films, from 'The Rookie' to 'Gran Torino.' But, in reflection, and in all honesty, which stands out to be your best film score/work to date, and why? "It would be 'Letters From Iwa Jima'."
It has to be said that growing up with a famous father like Clint must have been, so we humble people would imagine, wonderful on a daily basis! But, was there ever a downside to having a star as a father back then? "He was away working a lot."
With the release now of 'Metropolitain' what are you bringing to the table that's new and fresh, and that you are most proud of here? "I don't know. TRying to put a new twist on the influences and all the different music I like. Not just jazz, but funk, R&B, pop music. I like them all."
Indeed, how easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "It is very different but one tries ones best and tries to make music that you appreciate and hope other people will as well."
I have to say that looking at the front cover of the CD I see you, the artist, but turning it over and looking at the b/w photo of you and the guitar, well, that's a young Clint right there! Two photos and yet two completely different 'images' of the same person. Do you ever get that yourself some days, where some people stare at you as if to say 'Where do I know that face?' and then other times they walk on by without a flicker of acknowledgment? "Not regularily, but on occasion."
You recorded this new CD in France. But why there over one here in the States? "I live quite a bit of time in Paris ... and most of the musicians I work with live there."
Is it true that you actually auditioned for the role of Daniel LaRusso in 'The Karate Kid'? If so, how did they tell you that you didn't get the part ... and what was the reasoning?! "No audition, but there was talk about my father doing it. And he was asked with me in that role, but it never got to an audition. So, it never got off the ground."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "I hated it all, the music of the '80s! But, anything by The Clash ... really late '70s into the '80s. How about 'Rock The Casbah'."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins...do you? "Yes, I like 'March of the Penguins.' My friend Alex Wurman scored it."
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
To keep up with Kyle Eastwood, check out his MySpace page once a week!
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