Clint Eastwood and Jazz – from Denis Wall

Photo of Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood, as we all know, is an American actor, film director and producer. You may not know however, that he is also an aficionado of jazz particularly bebop, and blues. He dabbled in music early on as a boogie-woogie pianist and had originally intended to pursue a career in music.

In recognition of his long and successful career – he recently turned 92 – and his involvement in Jazz, I thought it might be of interest to outline some of his jazz interests For example: the Errol Garner piece “Misty” underlined the 1971 film “Play Misty for me” that Eastwood directed and starred in.

In 1996 Eastwood arranged a Jazz Concert at Carnegie Hall where the musicians played some of Clint Eastwood’s favourite tunes. These included Brubeck’s “Take Five and “In Your Own Sweet Way” and Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time” and “Billie’s Bounce.”

Over his career, Eastwood tried his hand at singing, playing piano and also composing. The latter was his most successful, as he composed the film scores for a number of the films he directed, including “Million Dollar Baby”, “Grace is Gone” and the original piano compositions for “In the Line of Fire”. Whilst none of these lent themselves to jazz interpretations, he did direct the 1988 film Bird – the story of Charlie “Bird” Parker.

Eastwood was also a great admirer of Dave Brubeck and in 2010 was executive producer for a Brubeck documentary.

As a fellow Jazz fan, I found Clint Eastwood’s story interesting. I hope you do too. – Denis Wall.

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