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Jazz Odyssey! – Kyle Eastwood live in Paris

Seeing Kyle Eastwood’s band live is a very unique experience. Let’s start with the obvious – when you’re the son of one of the most iconic actor/directors in the history of cinema, it’s difficult to carve out a first name for yourself. Especially when you are the spitting image of your dad.

Kyle Eastwood decided at a very young age that the legacy attached to his name was more gift than burden. In addition to the famous name, Kyle inherited the unconditional love of jazz music that runs in the family.

Yes, Kyle is Clint Eastwood’s son.

Naturally attracted to the bass, he became a session musician before starting his own quartet at the end of the nineties. Almost two decades and quite a few great albums later (including some movie soundtracks), the man now lives in Paris. I headed down to the Sunset/Sunside club to check out a hometown gig.

Kyle Eastwood on stage at Sunset/Sunside in Paris

A word on the venue first – Located on Rue des Lombards in the heart of the city (we Parisians call this area “the belly of Paris”), Sunset/Sunside  is a jazz lover’s fantasy. In addition to perfect acoustics, the place still looks like the original Parisian jazz clubs of the ‘50s. I half expected to see Coltrane or Miles sitting at the bar.

But Kyle’s set wasn’t rooted in the past, even if the band invoked that spirit. In fact, most of the tunes played were original compositions, from “Samba de Paris” (from the 2009 album Metropolitan) to the hypnotic “Marrakech” (Paris Blue – 2004) or “Andalucia” (Songs from the Château – 2011). Truly original material from a truly original band.

Band members Andrew McCormack at the piano and Chris Higginbottom behind the drums are way more than just silhouettes in the background; each of them is at the top of their game. The alchemy between Eastwood and McCormack is no surprise, as their relationship goes back to 2009 and the Metropolitan album. Kyle Eastwood’s virtuosity is made all the more vivid by surrounding himself with equally adept players.

Andrew McCormack on stage at Sunset/Sunside in Paris

The end result of this combination of simpatico and inspiration sounds like… Paris. With a mix of influences, from the sensuality of Latin soul to the spirituality of northern African vibrations, Kyle Eastwood’s take on jazz goes to the very heart of the City of Lights. An American immigrant playing immigrant songs in the playground of jazz.

Without words, Kyle Eastwood sends a message to those who fear differences and prefer to build walls between cultures instead of bridges; a message we value above all others and can be summed up in three words: All Is One.

Kyle Eastwood and Chris Higginbottom

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