Kevin Eubanks Leaves “The Tonight Show”
Actually, it was coming. Eubanks announced it in April during that whole fricassée with NBC, Leno and Conan. He was itchy to move on to do his own music. Don’t despair; the guy made a lot of money and made a lot of connections while with Leno. He won’t be burned for sticking with the show for 18 years. Neither will his band:
Exiting with Eubanks will be the other five members of the Tonight Show Band. They include vocalist and percussionist Vicki Randle, keyboardist Gerry Etkins, bass guitarist Derrick “Dock” Murdock, saxophonist Ralph Moore and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith.
Vicki Randle I already know about. The fuzzy-haired vocalist and percussionist has been the first and only female member of The Tonight Showhouse band, and she’s from the Bay Area. Randle has split her time between the East Bay and Southern California, and she’s a lesbian woman.
While Eubanks played a self-deprecating, and often hilarious sidekick to The Chin, I always figured there was more to Kev than met the eye, too. What can one expect from a guy who started playing with Art Blakey? He would segue the show to a commercial break, and then bring us back, and I often felt that I was missing something big in those interesting, dramatic, sometimes bad-assed instrumentals.
I look forward to his tours and his records. And I wish the brother well.