Thanks to some rather inconvenient health issues which include a few days in the hospital starting New Years Eve, I find myself banging out some "pre-reviews" a tad earlier than usual. In the day of the digital download, Spotify and advanced ordering the traditional release date is somewhat a thing of the pass to begin with. That being said, mark your calendar as on 02/19/13 Kevin Eubanks releases The Messenger.
The amazing thing concerning this release is that Eubanks steps outside himself and the more traditional jazz idiom and shows his prolific talents as a guitarist through a myriad of musicality. Eubanks exemplifies what I refer to as being a cultural by product of his own experience. There are tunes included from John Coltrane, Jeff Beck, and some Buddy Guy influenced blues and a nod to James Brown that will touch your soul and set your hair on fire at the same time. Far and away one of if not the most entertaining guitar players I have had the pleasure to listen to since the late Stevie Ray Vaughn. There may one or two others players I dig just as much but they seem more comfortable in the more traditional straight ahead jazz idiom where Eubanks has done everything here but toss in the kitchen sink!
The working 4tet here is Billy Pierce on tenor and soprano saxophone, Rene Camacho on bass, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith on bass. Special guests include Joey De Leon Jr. on congas and percussion, Alvin Chea on vocals, Duane Eubanks on trumpet and Robin Eubanks on trombone.
The musical evolution of Kevin Eubanks is in full effect. Combine technical proficiency along with the gift of sublime artistry and a willingness to step outside his comfort zone, I will use a quote from Eubanks and allow him to review his own record.
"IT'S ALL JUST MUSIC."
Tracks: The Messenger; Sister Veil; Resolution; JB; 420; Led Boots; M.I.N.D.; Queen of Hearts; The Gloaming; Love Ones; Ghost Dog Blues.
Health issues not withstanding I hope to go a little further with this at a later date.
Kevin Eubanks - The Messenger - photos by Raj Naik
Special thanks to Jordy at Mack Avenue and all the fine folks associated with the Mack Ave. family!