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Kyle Eastwood: Songs From the Chateau

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Listeners unexcited by the glossy, beat-heavy, smoothness of 2005’s Paris Blue and its two successors will be pleasantly surprised by the direction Kyle Eastwood takes on Songs From the Chateau, his fifth album as a leader. The virtuoso bass doubler and his regular bandmates holed up on a 15th-century estate in the French countryside and emerged with a mostly acoustic recording that plugs into soulful grooves and moves from hard bop to modal territory to Caribbean rhythms. Throughout, Eastwood demonstrates monster bass chops.

The disc’s nine compositions, and their titles, point to Eastwood’s global musical and geographical influences, from the Art Blakey flavorings of opener “Marciac,” which gives rise to bracing solos by trumpeter Graeme Flowers and tenor saxophonist Graeme Blevins, to soul-jazz closer “Down at Ronnie’s,” which has the horn players sparring before turning things over to the leader for another impressive round on his five-string bass guitar. Hints of warmer climes, and Sonny Rollins tunes, emerge from “Café Calypso,” and “Andalucia” comes with Latin-tinged rhythms, a mournful melody and, courtesy of the leader’s upright bass, a droning figure and rubbery solo.

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