Smitty: I must say it is my wonderful pleasure to finally welcome to JazzMonthly.com a great bass player. You have got to hear his latest new record. It is fantastic. It is called NOW, and after listening to this record, I call it the Eastwood sound. He has such a supersonic boom, and when you talk about fresh air in this format, you must include this cat. Please welcome the spectacular and amazing Mr. Kyle Eastwood. Kyle, how ya doin’?
Kyle Eastwood (KE): Good, man. Thank you very much.
Smitty: All right. Man, let me ask you, where did you get that groove? That is a fantastic groove you’ve got there, dude.
KE: (Laughs.) Just a lotta practice, really. (Both laugh.) I’ve always been into music, so it’s something I started when I was young playing the piano and then picking up a little guitar and bass when I was a teenager and playing bass full-time ever since I was about 18 or so.
Smitty: Yeah, man, and the practice pays off, doesn’t it? Well, I must tell you, man, when I first got this record….this is a true story….when I first got this record, I put it on in my car when I was on my way home and I will tell you, I made two trips around the block before I could get out of the car.
Smitty: It was that good, and I’ll tell ya, my rearview mirror had a groove on. (Both laugh.) Hey, that’s part of my litmus for a good record! Wow. Well, talk to me a little bit about….I know you say you’ve been playing since you were very young, but you grew up in a very musical household and you were listening to some great records as you were coming up, so I’m sure that was a great influence on your career today.
KE: Yeah, well, both my parents are big jazz fans so I grew up with all of this great music….the earliest memories of music have been of jazz, and then blues and stuff like that, that’s what my parents were listening to and then I grew up near the Monterey area in California and my parents have been going to the Monterey Jazz Festival for years. My father (Clint Eastwood) actually was at the very first one in ’58 and they started taking me along….I think I was about seven or so the first time I went. So I got a chance to see a lot of live jazz as well as hearing music around the house a lot, I think that’s what really gave me my interest in wanting to play an instrument and then the music, really.
Smitty: Yeah, and what a great festival. You were listening to some legendary players at that festival.
KE: Yeah, I think the first or second time I went I saw Count Basie when he was still alive and with the band, and Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, people like that.
Smitty: You’re a very fortunate young man. I was thinking as I was listening to your new record, this is a very fresh approach to music, I think, because you’ve got some great sounds, some great melodies, and this is not your everyday jazz record. I mean, there are some very out of the box things happening with this record. In fact, when I listened to the title track, it sounds like maybe two or three different songs that you could’ve easily developed from this song, you know? Because it’s got that kind of vibe and I’m lovin’ it.
KE: Yeah, well, I like a lotta different kinds of music. I mean, growing up with jazz and then I got a lot into a lot of old rock and roll and Motown music, funk and soul music, so, yeah, I think all that music kind of had its influences in the stuff I like to listen to and like to play and the way I write music, so I think I tried to represent all the things I like when I compose.
Smitty: Yeah, absolutely, man, and it shows in the record, it really does, and it’s tight. I mean, it’s not this all over the place kind of thing. I mean, it’s very well arranged.
KE: Thank you.
Smitty: And your sister is a musician (Alison Eastwood).
KE: Yeah, she’s done some singing, she’s singing a little bit. She’s actually… mainly she’s an actress and she just started directing a film just a few days ago.
Smitty: Well, that’s incredible. Wow. So it’s just a busy time all around, isn’t it? (Laughs.)
KE: Yeah, well, I think I’m gonna do the music….I’m doing the music for her film in a couple months when she’s done shooting it, so….
Smitty: How cool is that! Nice.
KE: I’m keeping busy with that and doing some film music here and there, and then touring and playing with the band.
Smitty: Yeah, and you’ve done some scoring for your Dad as well.
KE: Yeah, well, I did some of the music for Flags of Our Fathers and then I did all the music for Letters From Iwo Jima, which just came out so, yeah, I’ve been happy with that.
Smitty: That’s fantastic, man. So how did that happen? Did you just walk in the kitchen and say “Hey, Dad, I got some really cool stuff for your next film.” (Laughs.)
KE: Well, he had written a theme, one of the main themes for Flags of Our Fathers and so I kinda worked with him on that and then did some other arrangements for some of the score, and he decided to make this other picture kinda back-to-back from that one so, yeah, he just asked me if I would just continue on and do the score for that one.