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Kevin Eubanks

May 29, 2010 by Post Team 

Kevin EubanksKevin Eubanks:NEW YORK (AP) – It’s a wrap “Tonight Show” bandleader Kevin Eubanks after 18 years backing up Jay Leno.

“I do not think we have ever had a discussion,” Leno said, bidding farewell Eubanks in the program on Friday. “We had a lot of fun.”

Eubanks, whose functions include Leno comic sidekick and guitarist, had been on board since Leno took over NBC “Tonight” in 1992. Eubanks became musical director Branford Marsalis when he left in 1995.

The 52-year-old Eubanks, Leno joined last fall for the short-lived “The Jay Leno Show” in prime time, then returned to “Tonight” when Leno called the Conan O’Brien show in March . O’Brien left instead of moving NBC “Tonight” to a rear space to accommodate Leno at night.

In April, Eubanks announced plans to leave, but insisted the recent crisis had played no role in his decision. He said he was looking for a change of pace.

Eubanks was dating the other five members of the Tonight Show Band. These include vocalist / percussionist Vicki Randle, keyboardist Gerry Etkins, bassist Derrick “Dock” Murdock, saxophonist Ralph Moore and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith.

“We’ve been through this together,” said Eubanks, introducing and thanking them.
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During the hour-long show, a clip reel of comedic moments highlighted Leno and Eubanks have shared over the years, then was offered Eubanks perform an original song.

He will be replaced by former “American Idol” musical director Rickey Minor, who arrives with his own company of 07 June.

The Tonight Show “reruns will air next week.
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