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Kevin Tyrone Eubanks (born November 15 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker) is a jazz guitarist who was the leader of the Tonight Show Band with host Jay Leno from 1995 to 2009. He now leads The Primetime Band on The Jay Leno Show.

He composed the Tonight Show's closing theme music, "Kevin's Country," in 1992.

When Leno moved the show from late night to prime time (10PM in eastern time zones), Eubanks moved with the band to continue conducting the music for the new version of Leno's show. Eubanks appears on the new show as the Prime Time Band

Background

Eubanks was born into a musical family. His mother, Vera Eubanks, is a gospel and classical pianist and organist. His uncle, Ray Bryant, is a jazz pianist. His older brother, Robin Eubanks, is a trombonist, and his younger brother Duane Eubanks is a trumpeter. Two cousins are also musicians, the late bassist David Eubanks and the pianist Charles Eubanks. Kevin studied violin and trumpet before settling on the guitar.

He attended the Berklee College of Musicmarker in Bostonmarker and then moved to New Yorkmarker to begin his professional career. There he played with noted jazzmen such as Art Blakey (1980-81), Roy Haynes, Slide Hampton and Sam Rivers. Like his brother Robin, he has played on record with world renowned double bassist Dave Holland. While continuing to play with others, in 1983 he formed his own quartet playing gigs in Jordan, Pakistan and India on a tour sponsored by the United States State Departmentmarker.

His first recording as a leader, Guitarist, was released on the Elektra label when Eubanks was 25 years old. It led to a seven-album contract with the GRP label and four albums for Blue Note. In total, Eubanks has appeared on over 100 albums. In 2001, he founded the label Insoul Music on which he has released six albums.

Eubanks has taught at the Banff School of Fine Artsmarker in Canada, at Rutgers Universitymarker, and at the Charlie Parker School in Perugiamarker, Italymarker. In 2005, Eubanks received an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Musicmarker, of which he is an alumnus, but not a graduate. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and has served as an active member of the Artistic Advisory Panel of the BMI Foundation since 1999.

Influences

Kevin's guitar style owes much to early influences including Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Martino and John McLaughlin, a combination of sophisticated harmonic vocabulary and explosive fingerstyle technique. Eubanks' discography includes a wide spectrum of styles from GRP styled smooth jazz to avant garde acoustic to straight ahead trio to newer electric fusion.

Current

In 1992 Eubanks moved to the West Coast to assume the guitar spot in the Tonight Show Band. In 1995, he replaced Branford Marsalis to become the band's leader.

Eubanks has appeared on various TV shows such as Hollywood Squares, V.I.P., Girlfriends, Longshot and Days of Our Lives. He has written four feature film scores.

His touring band currently features Marvin "Smitty" Smith on drums and Bill Pierce on sax.

Personal life

Eubanks is a vegetarian and a rabid fan of Philadelpia sports teams.

Discography



References

  1. "LIGHTS, CAMERA, REACTION! KEVIN EUBANKS", International Musician, July 2007
  2. USATODAY.com - Kevin Eubanks beefs up without meat
http://blog.peta.org/archives/2007/06/kevin_eubanks_a.php

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