Having completed nearly two decades on the live circuit, Kyle Eastwood has carved out a fine reputation as a jazz performer. At the last of four consecutive sell-out nights at Ronnie Scotts, I saw why.
I was a smidgeon apprehensive as I arrived at the central-Soho location in case the set was entirely pure jazz, but my apprehension was short lived with the band presenting a wide range of material, Kyle’s writing as entertaining as it is varied.
And there were no pretences here. Despite being the son of one of Hollywood’s biggest all time A-listers Clint Eastwood, Kyle strides onto stage after his support band finish, unaided, to set up his own band’s equipment.
A quick solo sound check on his double-bass leads to a small round of applause from the front row and he bows dramatically in jest, his wide grin visible under his mop of blond hair.
He started as he meant to go on, friendly and engaging throughout his set, undisturbed by a rather amorous audience member who had drunk a few too many sherries. ‘Oooh Kyle,’ she kept heckling, suggestively.
‘I don’t normally have that effect,’ he quipped, endearingly (If you’re unfamiliar with jazz clubs, you should note it not considered acceptable to make any noise during the performance, a major no no).
‘It is always an exciting time for us to come back to play at the world’s most famous jazz club,’ he continued, whipping the otherwise-calm and well-behaved audience up into an explosive round of whooping and applause.
Ronnie Scott’s sells for multiple reasons. It has hosted the world’s best jazz and blues artists since it opened in 1959. And its reputation now sells itself.
This was Kyle’s third foray at the club, returning to perform tracks from his album Time Pieces, released last year, which includes music written for his father’s Japanese American war film, Letters from Iwo Jima. This is ahead of his next release Candid Kyle in September, which he enigmatically didn’t mention during the show.
He led the five-strong band through catchy-upbeat be-bop numbers, which featured the most stunning brass harmonies. The tempo changed dramatically for the theme to the film Letters from Iwo Jimo, played as an eerie yet beautiful piano and double-bass duet.
Kyle lifted the crowd to finish with a Brazilian/West African influenced track before discreetly being told he’d overrun and had to finish.
Clearly, no-one messes with the floor manager at Ronnie’s Scott’s. Not even Dirty Harry’s son.
By Sarah Robertson
-The Kyle Eastwood Band features Kyle Eastwood on double-bass and bass-guitar, Andrew McCormack on piano, Quentin Collins on trumpet, Brandon Allen on Sax and Chris Higginbottom on drums.
–Time Pieces was released in April 2015 on the label, Harmonia Mundi Jazz Village Music.
–Candid Kyle will be released in September on Candid Records.