Kyle Eastwood | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Clint Eastwood played boogie-woogie piano as a young man, and in 1988 he directed the Charlie Parker biopic Bird; now, it seems, he's produced a jazz bassist. Kyle Eastwood's got his dad's cool, sleepy grin, but it's hard to tell what else he's got on his first and only album, last year's From There to Here (Columbia): he all but disappears on his own debut. Pianist Matt McGuire wrote all of the original compositions, Vince Mendoza concocted the arrangements, and Eastwood himself hardly solos at all, leaving most of the improvisation to the album's well-traveled sidemen and cast of guest stars (who include David Sanchez, Joni Mitchell, Mark Isham, and Billy Childs). But I've spoken to a few trustworthy people who've either heard or worked with Eastwood, and they claim he really does have his act together--though I'm guessing he won't play "Misty" for you, no matter how nicely you ask. As on the album, Eastwood's surrounded by much better known players for this tour, two of them with Chicago roots and all worth hearing no matter how the kid at the helm sounds. Tenor man Eric Alexander lived here from '89 to '92, developing the meaty, spectacularly proficient style that opened doors for him in New York; there he's grown into an improviser of startling confidence and variety. Drummer Yoron Israel, who grew up in Chicago and split for the Apple in '87, drives any band he's in with crisp imagination--and you can hear two of them on new albums out under his name. The excellent young postbop trumpeter Jim Rotondi and pianist Jon Regen round out the band. Tuesday through Thursday, 8 and 10 PM; next Friday and Saturday, June 4 and 5, 9 and 11 PM, and next Sunday, June 6, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jean-Marc Scialom.

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