Bassist Kyle Eastwood to perform during the March 17-26 FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest

s_kyle_eastwood2.jpgAccomplished jazz bassist Kyle Eastwood is the latest marquee addition to the 16th annual FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest.

The Berks Jazz Fest runs March 17-26 at multiple venues throughout Berks County and is presented by the Berks Arts Council.

The festival already has a bright constellation of stars such as Dianne Reeves, Joe Sample, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Ramsey Lewis, David Benoit, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Gerald Veasley, Kurt Elling and the Robert Cray Band, among many others. In addition, three spectacular ensemble shows -- The Music of Marvin Gaye & Motown; Ivan Lins & Friends; and a Tribute to Wes Montgomery -- punctuate the lineup.

Eastwood and his band will perform on Sunday, March 19th, at 4 p.m. at the new GoggleWorks Center for the Arts theater, 2nd and Washington streets in downtown Reading.

In addition, the classic movie "Bird," which is about the life of bebop legend Charlie Parker and was produced by Clint Eastwood, will be appearing at the GoggleWorks Film Theater on Sunday, March 19th, following the concert.

Clint, a jazz lover, introduced his son to the genre at an early age.

Kyle, who is a physical dead ringer for his famous actor and director dad, grew up Caramel, California and remembers hearing Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and the Stan Kenton Big Band as a child.

"Dad made sure I heard jazz," Kyle said. "He took us every year to the Monterey Jazz Festival. He introduced me to Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis and other jazz legends. And at home, music was always there."

Kyle played the guitar as a child, then picked up the electric bass at the age of 18 and got serious. His father arranged for Kyle to study with the distinguished French bassist, Bunny Brunel. At age 23, Kyle formed his own band, West Quintet.

In the ensuing years Eastwood worked as a studio musician, backed pop singers and played film scores -- one of them his father's composition for "Unforgiven." Kyle became versed in a variety of styles.

But his roots remain in jazz.

After years of gigging around New York and Los Angeles, Kyle in 1998 released his first CD From There to Here, an upbeat collection of jazz standards and original music that features the vocals of Joni Mitchell.

Kyle also wrote a few tracks for his father's blockbuster film, "Million Dollar Baby," which starred Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman along with Clint.

Kyle's second CD, Paris Blue, was released in 2004. He worked on the album while living in Paris with his own family. The album is a lot more personal with contributions from his father and his daughter, Graylen, who wore and recorded the introduction to the title track when she was only 9 years old.

Eastwood also has been causing quite a stir in the London jazz scene.

He promises to do the same at the Berks Jazz Fest.

Concert tickets can be purchased by:

Stopping by the Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn streets, Reading, to place your order in person.

Box Office hours

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

Stopping by the Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading, to place your order in person.

Box Office hours

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Ordering online at www.berksjazzfest.com

Call Ticketmaster at 215.336.2000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Have a credit card ready.

For more information on the festival, click on www.berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the Berks Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes all the arts in an effort to enrich the quality of life in Berks County, click on www.berksarts.org