Kyle Eastwood talks about jazz and life with Clint

When Kyle Eastwood was growing up in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1970s, a special father-son tradition was the annual outing to see some of the old man’s favorite players, none of them named Mays, McCovey or Montefusco.

Instead there was Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan, all met backstage at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

“My father would take me and I’d be running around —  I was very young, 9 or 10 — and I’d meet people in passing. Louie Bellson, Stan Getz, Sara Vaughan, a bunch of people like that,” says Eastwood, recalling the unique access afforded by the celebrity of his father, filmmaker and actor Clint Eastwood. “The very first live music I heard was the Count Basie Big Band. Count was still alive then, and I remember being very impressed.”

The musical and patriarchal influence continue to reverberate through the life of Eastwood, an accomplished jazz bassist since his 1998 debut release, “From There to Here.” On Tuesday at Jazziz Nightlife in Boca Raton, Eastwood will perform two sets including music from his latest album, “The View From Here,” a funky global pastiche that the Paris resident recorded near Provence.

The album’s eclectic mix of rhythms, from the percussive sweep of “Sirocco” and the urban pulsations of “Une Nuit au Senegal” to the horn-driven romance of “From Rio to Havana,” should connect with South Florida audiences.

“There’s a lot of music from South America there, and I know a lot of great musicians that have come out of the University of Miami,” Eastwood says. “It’s sort of a great melting pot of music.”

While he spends most of his time in Europe, for the past several months Eastwood has been in Los Angeles, where he has created some of his most widely heard music for 10 movie soundtracks. Much of that work has been produced with his father, including arrangements for the just-wrapped big-screen version of “Jersey Boys.”

“He’s done a good job with it,” Eastwood says economically. “People who like the play and the [Four Seasons] music should love it.”

The two Eastwoods collaborated on one of the best pieces of movie music not to be nominated for an Academy Award, the theme from “Gran Torino,” a powerful 2008 drama that starred Clint Eastwood as a irascible Korean War veteran annoyed by the Laotian immigrants who move in next door.

The closing credits of the film roll to the title song,  a mournful ballad that begins with the delicate rasp of Clint Eastwood himself, before it gives way to an alternate version, an exquisite reading by the lyricist Jamie Cullum. The first version, which grew out of a simple melody plinked out on a piano by Clint Eastwood, was recorded by father and son in the elder’s home.

“I really enjoy working on his films, whenever I get a chance,” says Eastwood, acknowledging that his recording and touring schedule is matched by his father’s own creative drive, even at age 83.

“He’s good. He doesn’t slow down for too long,” Eastwood says, laughing. “He’s about to start another film in the next couple of weeks … It’s the true story of a veteran of the latest war in Iraq.”

IF YOU GO
Kyle Eastwood performs at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at Jazziz Nightlife, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Cost: $25, $45, $65. Call 561-300-0730, or go to Jazziz.com. More info: KyleEastwood.com.

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