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Kyle Eastwood: Now

With his third CD under his belt, it is now time to focus on bassist Kyle Eastwood’s music instead of his famous father. Eastwood continues to fuse contemporary jazz and hard-bop with elements of downtempo groove to magical effect.

Still, Eastwood, who for the most part stays in the background here, shucks the overriding bop sensibilities of 2005’s Paris Blue. Instead, he essentially delivers three albums in one. The first goes for contemporary jazz, expressed by the hard-driving title track, “Song for Ruth” and “September Nights,” a wonderfully trippy, soundtrack-ish thing with writing partner Michael Stevens’ space-age keyboard effects and John Beasley’s acoustic piano improvisations. The next section has the big difference: four bright vocal tunes featuring the too-cool singing of Ben Cullum, brother of stage-jumping Jamie. “I Can’t Remember,” “Leave It” and “Let’s Play” have the same appeal of British Nuevo-bossa band Matt Bianco, while a take on Sting’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (with new melodies and rapid keyboard runs) stands on its own and is everything a cover should be: not the original.

The CD embraces bop most noticeably on “Nasty Girl,” which amply displays the talents of two of the new guard of British jazz, trumpeter Graeme Flowers and tenor saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, but also with abandon on “Eastern Promise” and “How Y’all Doin’.”

Enjoy it while you can. Somehow, it seems inevitable that Eastwood’s next CD won’t sound anything like Now.

Originally Published