I’m a sucker for this sort of thing anyway – a bunch of great movie-score moments and themes reinterpreted in a strict ‘jazz setting’ (take my money, etc!) – but also, bass player Kyle Eastwood has a particularly special film connection; he’s the son of Clint. He has been on screen as a child-actor and has composed and played on some of his father’s film soundtracks too. So, a generous selection of Eastwood Senior’s film career is celebrated here, sometimes with Eastwood Junior being the composer, other times he’s just covering the music from the films (The Eiger Sanction, Gran Torino, Unforgiven).
This is about the two worlds coming together – of father and son – and of musician and film-lover/composer.
Right out of the gate we’re off and running with the themes from Bullit (Lalo Schifrin) and Taxi Driver (Bernard Herrmann) and then vocalist Camille Bertault makes her first appearance on Les Moulins de mon coeur.
So we’re off to a great start.
But these are all pieces with an overt ‘jazziness’ to them – just as effective is when the dramatic cinema-music is turned on its ear and nothing but jazz is drained from it, as with The Eiger Sanction. This is a chance for pianist Andrew McCormack in particular to show his light-fingered dance. And throughout there’s stirring work from Chris Higginbottom (drums), Quentin Collins (trumpet) and Stefano de Batista (saxes).
Eastwood is clearly relishing the chance to drive this music from his childhood and from the many different worlds of film. Bertault and co-vocalist Hugh Coltman nail the Skyfall theme, taking it to a different place from the Adele original, the pure bop backing on this is delightful.
Okay, maybe we don’t need the Pink Panther theme – but it’s there to show the history of film music that has inspired Kyle; its sax riff the equivalent of Smoke on the Water for budding guitarists I guess. Still, there’s a nice connection between Eastwood and drummer Higginbottom on this one; they get to play underneath the main motif and add a jazz-club smokiness to the feel.
More successful is when Eastwood is creating, transforming – as on the late-night waft of Unforgiven, a high trumpet line the star of the show but a love, empathic bit of band playing beneath.
This is more than a curio – it’s seriously good playing offered across some interesting and well-known film soundtracks (with one or two lesser known pieces included to keep it interesting) – but if you’re just interested because it’s Clint’s son and it’s a jazz-take on cinema then you won’t be disappointed.