Now that he is into his late 40's and has released nine albums in his 19 years as leader, no lingering doubt can remain that bassist and composer Kyle Eastwood
has stepped out of the formidable shadow of his father. The latest evidence is presented here in the form of Eastwood's latest release, In Transit.
Although he gained valuable experience working on the soundtracks of films such as The Rookie
and Mystic River
, the greatest legacy Kyle received from Clint was a childhood steeped in music, particularly jazz. Living in Carmel, close to Monterey, the Eastwoods were regulars at the annual jazz festival, and his father's A-list status meant that the young Kyle got to meet such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie
and Sarah Vaughan
. Added to a diet of classic jazz at home, such experiences educated him well in the language of jazzand the results are still readily apparent on In Transit
. Alongside the bassist, a classic line-up is completed by Andrew McCormack
(piano), Quentin Collins
(trumpet and flugelhorn), plus new additions Brandon Allen
(tenor and soprano saxophone) and Ernesto Simpson
(drums) and special guest Stefano di Battista
on saxophones as well. The five form a unit which is loose and funky, with the members comfortable in each other's company.
The album's ten compositions, plus two bonus tracks, are a rich extension of Eastwood's history as a bandleader, presenting here a work infused with melodic elegance and a sustained sense of groove organized around the quintet's often-collective compositions, combined with their take on some timeless classics. McCormack, Eastwood and Simpson make a solid rhythm section, laying down a reliable foundation which supports some inventive soloing. Collins and Allen are particularly effective in tandem. Whether playing a melody line in unison or trading solos, they help the quintet conjure up the sound and spirit of Art Blakey
's Jazz Messengers.
The end result is Eastwood's finest album to date, one which has a timeless quality and nothing to pin it to the 21st century. In fact, it could easily have originated in any of the past four decades.
Soulful Times; Rush Hour; Movin'; Cinema Paradiso; Night Flight; We See; Rockin'
Ronnie's; Jarreau; Blues in Hoss' Flat; Boogie Stop Shuffle; Sunrise - Bonus Track;
Swamp To An Oasis - Bonus Track
Kyle Eastwood: bass; Andrew McCormack: piano; Quentin Collins: trumpet and flugelhorn; Brandon Allen: tenor and soprano saxophone; Ernesto Simpson: drums; Stefano di Battista: saxophone.