Kyle Eastwood Was A Ten Year Old Jazz Club Regular
Bassist Kyle Eastwood grew up immersed in the world of jazz. The classic sounds of Miles Davis and John Coltrane filled his home as a child and his father, legendary actor Clint Eastwood, introduced him to many of the genre's greatest practitioners before he was old enough for middle school. Between breaks on a film scoring session, the younger Eastwood spoke with the Weekly about that path to becoming a globally-recognized commander of the upright and electric bass. He will be appearing with his band this Saturday at Spaghettini in Seal Beach.
OC Weekly (Sean J. O'Connell): When did you take up the bass?
Kyle Eastwood: The first time I picked up the bass was when I was 13 or 14. I was in high school. I had a lot of friends who were musicians and they were always looking for a bassist. I studied piano and a little guitar first but I knew mostly guitarists and horn players. Luckily it came naturally to me.
Did you gravitate to upright or electric first?
I started on electric. At 18 I switched to acoustic and I focused on that for a few years before I went back to electric. I like playing both. It's nice to get different sounds and different colors. I spent a few years just playing acoustic but then I missed the electric sometimes. I had to split my time on both instruments.
Who were your initial influences musically?
I was really into Paul Chambers, transcribing his bass lines and solos. I got slowly into the old school guys like Oscar Pettiford, Jimmy Blanton and Slam Stewart. When I first started playing I was learning Motown tunes so lots of James Jamerson. All the funk bass players. I listened to a lot of James Brown.
I did a master class with Ray Brown once. I got to see him record in the studio when he was working with my father on the Bird soundtrack. I was about 19 or 20 then and it was great. Ray and Monty Alexander were replacing the tracks behind some bootleg Charlie Parker recordings that someone had recorded from the audience.