Kevin Eubanks: From East To West
Guitar Connoisseur|Guitar Connoisseur Kevin Eubanks Spring 2019
“Music Is Like A Back Stage Pass To Everything”

Understanding, Timing And Audiences, And Comedy And Music, Kevin Eubanks Reveals How Truth Is A Pathless Land In The Pursuit Of An Ever Unfolding Career, As A Multi-Dimensional Guitar Player.

David Barrett

Guitar Connoisseur: Do you believe in the concept of genetic memory, and that some of our musical lineages can be passed on to us in that way?

Kevin Eubanks: I do not, although I could easily be wrong. Who knows? I do think a shared, passed down environment can greatly influence one’s connection to whatever field you find yourself. That includes music and perhaps everything else.

GC: What was it like growing up with such strong musical influences, your mother Vera an educator, her brother Ray, a jazz musician, even your brothers’ brother Robin and Duane were very musical and played trombone and trumpet?

KE: It was great! A question of environment. It’s such a wonderful thing to be nurtured by one’s environment. Music was most welcome in our house and clearly has helped shaped everything. I’m entirely grateful for the way our parents encouraged us to follow our musical dreams. My mother and uncles were living examples of following what was, and still is in our hearts.

My mom, “I don’t hear anyone practicing!”

GC: You started on violin at age 7 and then later trumpet, how did that shape your perspective on playing guitar?

KE: It made me realize that different genres of music always influence others. The technique, rhythm, intonation, etc. It kept my mind open and all along the way it was an opportunity to learn more. I still love the violin and I’m so sorry I stopped playing it. The biggest musical regret of my career.

GC: What advantages did attending Berklee College Of Music in Boston, give to you as a young musician, many players go directly out on the road, and learn a different skill set in their formative years?

KE: Learning and interfacing with growing musicians from all over the world and the US brought so many varied ways of approaching music. It was learning in a 360 degree way. Every day I was exposed to people and languages that made me listen more and consider more than only the things I was used too. There were great musicians that I had the opportunity to jam with not to mention make friends with. Some of them I’m still very close with to this day. A great experience.

GC: What would you say is the main thing you took away from being able to play with such legendary players as Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, and Dave Holland?

KE: It was a path that was paved with so much I hadn’t considered. It gave me great confidence and it felt great to actually contribute to the music we shared. It helped make it all real!

GC: What’s required in making the leap from band member to band leader?

KE: I do not recall a leap really. It was an opportunity that was fulfilled. It always felt so natural to me.

Many musicians would be uncomfortable making the transition to being a tv personality on a huge production such as The Tonight Show, was that hard to come to terms with or did you embrace it naturally?

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