Kevin Eubanks is a gifted musician, prolific composer and known as the music director of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" band, appearing on the show 18 years (1992-2010). Eubanks has won over audiences with a laid-back style and affability that seems to belie the concentration and focus that have made him both a household word for TV viewers and a consummate guitarist.
Eubanks studied the trumpet before making his commitment to the guitar, which was solidified with his entrance to the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he met many of the finest jazz musicians of his generation. When Eubanks moved to New York after attending Berklee College of Music, his career kicked off in earnest. His first album as a leader, "Guitarist," was released on the Elektra label when Eubanks was 25. It documented a sophisticated, nuanced voice on the instrument and was graced by the presence of peers who he still with him today.
In 1992, Eubanks moved to the West Coast to assume the guitar spot on "The Tonight Show" band. In 1995, the leader's torch was passed to Eubanks, whose versatility enabled him to write and choose music that satisfied the huge and varied audience for the show. He assumed the role as Leno's sidekick, sometimes participating in skits. His engaging personality and musicianship drew attention. The position afforded Eubanks the opportunity to work with fine musicians from all genres. He has appeared on various TV shows "Hollywood Squares," "VIP," "Girlfriends," "Days of Our Lives" and "Royal Pains."
Eubanks and his band—saxophonist Bill Pierce, who holds the Woodwind chair
at Berklee College of Music, and bassist Rene Camacho—continue to travel the country on tour.
An advocate for music education, Eubanks served as artistic director of the jazz in the classroom program for The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, 2010-2012, where he worked with young middle and high school musicians in the Los Angeles public schools. "Young people need to be able to express themselves in ways that educate, uplift and inspire self-confidence," Eubanks says.
In 2010, Eubanks released the CD "Zen Food," which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard Jazz Chart and was Eubank's fastest-selling record ever. In 2013, his CD "The Messenger" was released, garnering a 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Jazz Album. The same year, he toured extensively as a member of Dave Holland's PRISM, with Eric Harland and Craig Taborn, and releasing their debut album "Prism," in 2013. His most recent CD, the acclaimed "Duets" with fellow guitarist Stanley Jordan, was released in 2015 to rave reviews worldwide.
As one of the most accomplished guitarists of his or any generation, Eubanks has deservedly become known to millions through music, TV and "lots of hard work."
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