For nearly two decades, the world at large knew precisely where to find the acclaimed guitarist Kevin Eubanks. For five nights a week, Eubanks was cranking up the band and issuing steamy solos as music director on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In spring of 2010, after 18 years on the job, Eubanks decided to move on, although retirement was the last thing on his mind. That much is clearly stated in potent musical terms on Zen Food, his first recording for the Mack Avenue label.
Philadelphia native Kevin Eubanks grew up surrounded by music. His mother, Vera, was both a gospel and classical pianist, and his brothers,Robin and Duane,play trombone and trumpet,respectively. Eubanks started as an elementaryschoolstudent playing violin, trumpet and piano and eventually found himself studying at Berklee College of Music. After graduating, he moved to New York City and started performing with legends such Art Blakey, RoyHaynesand Sam Rivers, carving out a spot as the go-to guitarist in the New York jazz scene. In 1992 he moved to Los Angeles to join The Tonight Show Band and in ‘95 he replaced Branford Marsalis as the leader and served in that role for 15 years.