Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

389

Kevin Eubanks: Zen Food

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
As the former Tonight Show's music director for 18 years, guitarist Kevin Eubanks admirably performed the necessary duties of leading the house band, trading comedic barbs with host Jay Leno, and whatever else it took to get the job done. But before the glamor and glitz of Hollywood, most folks probably didn't know that Eubanks was and still is a superb jazz musician who has performed with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, bassist Dave Holland, and released a number of fine recordings.

Eubanks' new chapter begins with Zen Food, showcasing his continued guitar mastery with a new band and fresh material. The recording's dynamics mirror his talent: an intrepid player with the ability to play with deep feeling; and a robust writer, covering a range of hard hitting vamps ("The Dancing Sea"), stealthy grooves ("Spider Monkey Cafe"), and blue serenity (" The Dirty Monk"), and tender ballads ("I Remember Loving You").

The band's symbiotic connection is crucial, beginning with the cornerstone of bassist Rene Camacho and veteran trap-master Marvin "Smitty" Smith who was also a member of the Tonight Show band. Moments such as the hymnal inspired "Adoration" are vivid, as Eubanks' acoustic chord-work is the perfect accompaniment to Gerry Etkins' ethereal keyboards. The set feels, at times, like a potpourri of styles, but the high level of musicianship elevates tracks such as the Wes Montgomery-like storm of "6/8," and the infectiously hip "G G (Gerry's Groove)," where Bill Pierce's saxophone laments sweet blues and Eubanks' electric guitar echoes the sentiment with elongated and improvised notes.

Eubanks is a complete player, whether delivering jaw-dropping solos or flavorful comps. On top of that, he's not lost his superlative chops on acoustic guitar, as "Das It" attests. This short barn-burner displays a dexterity, intensity, and muscular finger picking reminiscent of his killer Shadow Prophets (GRP, 1988). What lies ahead for Eubanks is anyone's guess, but it is sure to be an interesting journey that begins with the welcome return of Zen Food.

Track Listing: The Dancing Sea; Spider Monkey Cafe; The Dirty Monk; Adoration; Los Angeles; I Remember Loving You; 6/8; G.G.; Offering; Das It.

Personnel: Kevin Eubanks: guitars; Bill Pierce: saxophone; Gerry Etkins: keyboards; Rene Camacho: bass; Marvin "Smitty" Smith.

Title: Zen Food | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Platinum on Tap" CD/LP/Track Review Platinum on Tap
by Geannine Reid
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "Putting Off Death" CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Signs" CD/LP/Track Review Signs
by Doug Collette
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Trajetórias" CD/LP/Track Review Trajetórias
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 5, 2018