Gig review: Kyle Eastood band and Martin Taylor, Festival Theatre

KYLE Eastwood, son of the actor Clint Eastwood, is one of those celebrity kids everyone hates because they’re talented enough to be famous in their own right.

The Kyle Eastwood Band — Eastwood on bass, the outstanding Andrew McCormack on keys, the inventive Graeme Blevins on the sax, Graeme Flowers on trumpet and Martyn Kaine on drums — played a selection of tunes from their albums, including some yet to be released material.

The group got off to a slow start with some dull solos in their opening number. But each consecutive tune got better and better and, by the end of their set, the audience were totally in thrall and a real party atmosphere emerged — a difficult feat to pull off outside of a jazz club.

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Eastwood and McCormack make good use of extended techniques, some of which are unusual in jazz, like bowing, in-piano strumming, and live electronic effects. These were great when integrated in the dork-chic “Tonic” and a few other tunes, but seem a bit experimental for the sake of experimental in the more soundscapey “Marrakesh”.

The diversely fabulous comping from Andrew McCormack successfully balanced out some rather unexciting drumming. His solos also had real shape, individually and over the evening.

The group were supported by Martin Taylor, who can play a full band’s worth of music on solo guitar without breaking a sweat. Taylor is a natural cabaret performer, creating an intimate and relaxed atmosphere with humour in both his stage patter and music.

Taylor compensates for the lack of emotional range in his set by sampling several different styles of music — here a New Orleans number with walking parallel tenths (the mind boggles), there a West Indies influenced calypso tune (and why not?).

Nonetheless, the overall flavour of the set was rather samey, with only two down-tempo numbers. A sped-up “Stella by Starlight” was rather a waste of a fine ballad.

A brief preview of Taylor’s Spirit of Django orchestral suite however, promises great things for his performance at the Proms on 31 August.•9Edinburgh

• Jazz and Blues Festival ends July 29

Rating: ****

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