Graeme Blevins / Kyle Eastwood / Graeme Flowers

Songs from the Chateau

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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran

Firmly establishing himself apart from his legendary family name, Clint Eastwood's son, bassist Kyle Eastwood, has been paying overt homage to his second home of Paris since early in his solo career, starting with his 2005 Rendezvous debut, Paris Blue, and 2009's Metropolitain. Recording Songs from the Chateau with his band in the living room of the 15th century Couronneau in Ligeux in Bordeaux country, Eastwood creates a spontaneous joie de vivre, a free-flowing jam-like vibe that's all at once frenetic but obviously coming from a relaxed mindset. Likewise, all the tracks capture that balance of the excitement and the cool lifestyle of the country. The powerful, percussive, and soaring opener "Marciac" -- named for a renowned jazz festival that Eastwood played in 2010 -- is as much a showcase for Eastwood's groove as for drummer Martyn Kaine's sense of funky swing and the solo magic of trumpeter Graeme Flowers and saxman Graeme Blevins. The downshift into the moody "Moon Over Couronneau" invokes images of the French countryside, with a focus on the subdued, soaring horns behind the glimmering old-school moods of Andrew McCormack's electric piano and his sparkling improvisations on the acoustic. After taking a jaunt to the simmering, sizzling, brass/percussion environs of "Café Calypso," the vibe chills again on the seductive, cautiously optimistic "Soul Captain" and the gracefully whimsical (but with occasional dark tones) percussion- and plucky bass-dominated "Andalucia." You know it's time to relax late in the day when Eastwood and his crew relax for a slightly exotic, ambient gulp of "Tonic," complemented by a moody, slightly breathy "Apertif" and a soulful, horn-drenched, funky nightcap "Down at Ronnie's." All in all, it's a fun-filled jazzy voyage into the heart of jazz, French style.

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