KEVIN EUBANKS, ZEN FOOD


Fresh off his 18-year gig as the bandleader on the “Tonight Show,” guitarist Kevin Eubanks presses the record button again. “Zen Food” (Mack Avenue Records) may surprise listeners who aren’t familiar with his earlier recordings from the 80’s for Elektra, GRP and Blue Note labels. Apart from the straight-ahead “6/8,” played at a deft tempo, Eubanks style of contemporary jazz is oddly comforting. The all-original tunes are gently melodic (“Spider Monkey Café”), slightly funky (“The Dirty Monk”) and underscored by subtle keyboard shadings by Gerry Etkins. Eubanks’ shares frontline duties with saxophonist Bill Pierce and his compositions are served with a steady beat by veteran drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. If the late night jazz-club vibe can’t be helped, that’s okay only because Eubanks is an affable player and tunesmith. Remarkably intimate, “Zen Food” tastes pretty good. (10 tracks; 59:21 minutes) 
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: KEVIN EUBANKS, ZEN FOOD

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KEVIN EUBANKS, ZEN FOOD


Fresh off his 18-year gig as the bandleader on the “Tonight Show,” guitarist Kevin Eubanks presses the record button again. “Zen Food” (Mack Avenue Records) may surprise listeners who aren’t familiar with his earlier recordings from the 80’s for Elektra, GRP and Blue Note labels. Apart from the straight-ahead “6/8,” played at a deft tempo, Eubanks style of contemporary jazz is oddly comforting. The all-original tunes are gently melodic (“Spider Monkey Café”), slightly funky (“The Dirty Monk”) and underscored by subtle keyboard shadings by Gerry Etkins. Eubanks’ shares frontline duties with saxophonist Bill Pierce and his compositions are served with a steady beat by veteran drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. If the late night jazz-club vibe can’t be helped, that’s okay only because Eubanks is an affable player and tunesmith. Remarkably intimate, “Zen Food” tastes pretty good. (10 tracks; 59:21 minutes) 
   

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