Kevin Eubanks, who gained fame in recent years as Jay Leno’s sidekick and bandleader for The Tonight Show Band, kicks off the University of Central Arkansas 2009-2010 Public Appearances with “An Evening with Kevin Eubanks” at Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.
Eubanks will play with a quintet that features him on guitar, Bill Pierce on Sax, Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums, Gerald Etkins on keyboards and René Camacho on bass.
Jerry Biebesheimer, director of UCA Public Appearances, said he has been trying to book Eubanks for several years.
“In addition to being well known through his work as Jay Leno’s Tonight Show band leader, Kevin Eubanks is an accomplished and recognized jazz musician, who has released more than 20 CDs and been featured on several more,” Biebesheimer said. “I have been trying to book Kevin Eubanks for five years, but his Tonight Show commitment made it impossible for him to make long-range commitments. This will be the first time the quintet has played in Arkansas.”
Eubanks grew up Philadelphia and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then moved to New York and played with famous jazz musicians while establishing his own quartet and traveling to Jordan, Pakistan and India on a tour sponsored by the US State Department.
Eubanks has also taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada, at Rutgers University and at the Charlie Parker School in Perugia, Italy.
At 25, he recorded his first album, Guitarist, which was so successful it landed him a seven-album contract with a record label.
Eubanks joined The Tonight Show Band in 1992 as a guitarist and moved up to bandleader in 1995. He participated in regular skits with Leno through their years on The Tonight Show.
Because of Eubanks’ commitment to The Tonight Show, he was unable to tour but stated in a press release that he loves getting the opportunity to perform for people.
"It’s wonderful to feel the music surging through you and touching people from the inside out,” Eubanks stated. “That’s what happens when everyone is open and the music takes hold. What an honor it is to be invited into so many peoples lives, if only for a brief melodious moment."
Leno stepped down from The Tonight Show in the spring.
Tickets for the performances are available at the UCA Central Box Office. Tickets are $30, $32 and $35 for the general public, $27, $29 and $32 for seniors, $25, $27 and $30 for UCA alumni, $23, $25 and $28 for UCA faculty and staff, and $10 for all student tickets. UCA students are admitted free with a current student ID.
For tickets call 501.450.3265 or toll free from anywhere in Arkansas at 1.866.810.0012, or visit www.uca.edu/tickets. For more information, call UCA Public Appearances at 501.450.3682 or e-mail [email protected].