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Eastwood After Hours [31 Mar 2006|11:34pm]

I watched Eastwood After Hours tonight. It's video of a concert hosted at Carnegie Hall in honor of Clint Eastwood, for being a good jazz fan and for including so much jazz in his films. While I wouldn't describe it as, "one of the greatest concerts in the history of jazz," as one talking head called it at the end of the DVD, I definitely enjoyed it. It was recommended to me by a friend, but I didn't have any idea who was actually in it before watching it.

I noticed about halfway through that Clint Eastwood has a mark on his cheek under his left eye. It's kind of purple. Those of you who have read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle will know why this caught my attention, just having finished the book the other day.

The video editing is pretty bad. They try to mix clips from Eastwood movies, random classic jazz photos, and some Clint commentary in with the concert footage, and it comes off pretty awkward. If it were me, I'd keep the Clint commentary, because that was just done in between songs, and get rid of the rest. It's just weird to all the sudden be watching a five-second clip from In The Line Of Fire while Joshua Redman is tearing up "Lester Leaps In" in the background. I made that specific example up, but it's representative.

Yes, Joshua Redman is in it, and he's great. Him and James Carter get some nice sax dueling going on for quite a while. The innocuous bass player in the background for many of the tunes is Christian McBride, another favorite of mine.

But many of the songs were done in forms that were not my favorite kind of jazz. I'm not a big fan of the orchestra in jazz, and most of the set is done with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra and some soloists out in front. Also, I don't like hearing two pianos play at the same time, and there were a few instances of that. I don't care if it is Kenny Barron and Barry Harris — one at a time please. Definitely not enough coming out of the drummers, not even when Thelonious Monk, Jr. was up. Still, I enjoyed it all enough to be happy about watching it.

I was also glad to be introduced to some older musicians I have never investigated, especially Jay McShann, whose playing on "Hootie's Blues" was relaxed and groovy. The camerawork throughout is nice, with a lot of zooms on the piano hands; good for a sorry player like me to see.

Clint Eastwood's son plays the bass. The Kyle Eastwood Quartet was on for a tune, and I think he can actually play. Definitely better than his old man, who bangs out a very odd (but kind of enjoyable) blues on the piano at the end of the show.

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