Eastwood is central to the music, providing its vital pulse and focus.
John Eyles 2009-06-22
Kyle Eastwood’s band are a hot live act. Driven by Eastwood's bass guitar, they inject life into audiences, getting them moving and grooving. After taking time out to work on soundtracks for his father's films, most recently Gran Torino, Eastwood returns with this easy-on-the-ear album, his first since 2006.
On Metropolitain, the aim was to capture the energy of the band’s live sound. The album was recorded in Paris, allowing such renowned European players as pianist Eric Legnini, drummer Manu Katché, trumpeter Till Brönner and vocalist Camille to join the ensemble alongside regulars like British saxophonist Graeme Blevins and pianist Andrew McCormack.
The album's outstanding track, Hot Box, shows what they can deliver at their best. McCormack's electric piano, Eastwood's bubbling bass and Katché's whiplash snare drum propel a tight funk workout that recalls The Meters in their heyday, amply demonstrating why Eastwood's band are a wow in concert.
Such excitement is not sustained throughout Metropolitain. At times it narrowly avoids drifting too close to elevator music. The title track with its mellow piano riff from Legnini and wordless backing vocals from Camille radiates smooth elegance. It is only rescued by incisive trumpet interjections from Brönner that steal the track.
Throughout, Eastwood is central to the music, providing its vital pulse and focus. History shows that being a band's leader and its bassist can be a difficult combination. To his credit, Eastwood manages it with style. He is at his finest on Black Light, with its subtle Hammond organ riff.
Co-produced by Erin Davis, son of Miles, and Michael Davis, Eastwood's frequent collaborator, notably on those soundtracks, the album achieves a laid-back groove that comfortably blends jazz and funk.