Kevin Eubanks Leaving Jay Leno’s Tonight Show
February 17, 2010
(ChattahBox)—- Bandleader Kevin Eubanks has been a constant and dependable foil for Jay Leno’s jokes over the years, but that’s about to come to an end. Eubanks announced this week that he will be leaving the newly minted Tonight Show, with Jay Leno back at the helm, to pursue recording and touring opportunities.
Jay Leno is scheduled to return to the late night show in March, after the Olympic games are over. Conan O’Brien left as host of the show, after he balked at NBC’s plan to award Leno with the coveted 11:30 p.m. time slot and push The Tonight Show into the early morning hour.
NBC released a statement confirming Eubank’s departure: “Kevin has expressed interest in pursuing personal touring and recording opportunities; however, he will be with the show when it returns.”
Eubanks, who has been Leno’s bandleader and guitarist for more than 17 years, will stay with the show during a transition period, to allow time for a replacement to be found.
Kevin Eubanks has been with Jay Leno since 1992, when he was the band’s lead guitarist. He took over as bandleadler three-years later as a replacement for Branford Marsalis.