Kevin Eubanks: The Messenger

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Kevin Eubanks
LABELS: Mack Avenue
ALBUM TITLE: Kevin Eubanks: The Messenger
WORKS: The Messenger
PERFORMER: Kevin Eubanks (guitar), Bill Pierce (sax), Rene Camacho (bass), Marvin Smith (drums), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), etc


For 18 years, the Philadelphia-born guitarist Kevin Eubanks had what most jazz musicians can only dream of: a steady, paying, playing job. As bandleader on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, Eubanks also had a massive TV audience for his prodigious talent. Anyone following his career since he quit in 2010 won’t be disappointed with this, his second post-Tonight disc.

Superficially, it’s slick, funky fusion – what used to be called soul jazz. But listen again and there’s real depth beneath the gloss, such as in the cover of Coltrane’s ‘Resolution’, a stand-out track that features super saxist Bill Pierce, as well as guest star Alvin Chea (Take 6) scatting the bass line. Other guests include Eubanks’s brothers – Robin (trombone) and Duane (muted trumpet) who slide comfortably in and out of the core quartet. Whippy drummer Smith and the bubbling bass lines of Camacho make for a hard driving rhythm section.


Garry Booth