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Multi-faceted guitar heroes Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan recording a Duets album: an idea that as soon as you hear it, you wonder why nobody, including you, thought of it until now. Eubanks, the Philadelphia native who took New York by storm starting out in straight ahead jazz clubs then progressive albums for contemporary jazz giant GRP Records and legendary Blue Note Records, frequent collaborations with cutting edge bassist Dave Holland, then 18 years in Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" Band (15 as Music Director) where he played with seemingly every meaningful musician across genres. Jordan, the Chicago-born/Bay Area-raised phenomenon who mesmerized audiences with his instantly identifiable "touch technique" on guitar beginning with his gold-selling Blue Note Records debut Magic Touch (featuring his radio staple remake of Michael Jackson's "The Lady in My Life"), followed by a string of wide-ranging endeavors including a one-off for Clive Davis' Arista Records and explorations into the field of music therapy. Add that, between them, both gentlemen play piano, bass and keyboards - arrange and compose - and the possibilities become truly inviting. Surely Eubanks and Jordan would make some engaging "beyond boundaries" music together. That they do on their serenely seamless 10-song Mack A venue Records outing, Duets  - spontaneous compositions and passionate arrangements that will send listeners' imaginations on a series of hypnotic journeys.
 

The Messenger

With his second Mack Avenue Records release, The Messenger, acclaimed guitarist Kevin Eubanks continues to explore his own unique musical vision. This vision offers the listener an opportunity to share a musical journey that truly exemplifies where Eubanks is at this stage of his illustrious career; one that, for over three decades, has seen him incorporate into his creative process a willingness to embrace the broad spectrum of his musical experience, while continuing to seek out new vistas.

The Messenger is a project that reflects not only the guitarist’s virtuosity on his instrument, but also his impressive compositional skills—writing all but two tracks. Best described simply as a “Kevin Eubanks” recording—without specific categorization—as his intent with The Messenger is to communicate the breadth of his artistic influences.

Eubanks is joined on most tracks by his sterling fellow quartet members: Billy Pierce on reeds, Rene Camacho on bass, Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums and Joey De Leon, Jr. on percussion. This project also has a family flavor, featuring younger brother Duane on trumpet (“Sister Veil,” “JB,” “420”), and older brother Robin on trombone (“JB,” “Queen Of Hearts”)

Zen Food

Zen Food is a statement of purpose for a guitarist who, in the 15 years before landing his coveted gig in Burbank, built a reputation as one of the more adventurous and anti-ism guitarists. In fact, Eubanks has been tending his personal musical muse for years, working on material and honing his band in Los Angeles “after work” at the famed Baked Potato.

In his band, Eubanks has a powerful rhythm section ally in drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith who, like Eubanks, was a commanding presence on the music scene before heading west to the “Tonight Show” bandstand. Completing the ranks of this bold unit, which deftly combines “fusion” in the best sense with other stylistic turns, are saxophonist Bill Pierce, who holds the Woodwind Chair at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, keyboardist Gerry Etkins and bassist Rene Camacho. Zen Food evokes a sense of diversity and also collective continuity, qualities long in the making, and now ready to “hit the road” in a global way.