Shadow Prophets was a marked improvement over The Heat of Heat, but it was obvious that GRP was trying desperately to find a niche for Kevin Eubanks. Despite a distinctive guitar style and an endless stream of ideas, Eubanks was again being molded in the same style as George Benson (the pop version). The inclusion of Mark Ledford also indicates an effort to ride the Pat Metheny wave that was so popular on contemporary radio stations at this time.
This intriguing set features percussionist Mino Cinelu with Kevin Eubanks (on acoustic guitar) and bassist Dave Holland. They perform four Eubanks songs, three by Holland, and two from Cinelu, music that ranges from exotic sounds to light and creative funk grooves. It is quite intriguing hearing Eubanks sticking exclusively to his acoustic guitar and Cinelu adds plenty of catchy yet unpredictable rhythms. However, Holland often takes solo honors and he usually holds the group together with his authoritative and flexible sound. Very interesting music that's worth listening to closely several times.
If heat is the process of energy transfer from one body to another, then that is what Kevin Eubanks has set out to do with velvety guitar sounds that will rub you the right way. Familiar to millions of viewers nightly as the leader of Jay Leno's Tonight Show Band, Eubanks creates this generation's finest creative jazz tunes on The Heat of Heat. Dreamy and memorizing, Eubanks creates an odyssey, with him leading the way, that compels you to dance, twirl, evoke your inner sexuality.
Two years after releasing the original Spiritalk, Kevin Eubanks reunites the same group of musicians for another collection of organic fusion compositions. Drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, regardless of what one might think of him in general, simply smokes in situations like this. He is absolutely unchained, playing with the energy (and seemingly the limbs) of two or more men. Smith and Eubanks interact like McLaughlin and Cobham, or Morse and Morgenstein.
Turning Point is a highly appropriate title for this album. After recording his share of commercial fluff for GRP, Kevin Eubanks switched to Blue Note with this heartfelt CD and strived for excellence instead of going out of his way to avoid it. Creativity, personal improvising, and spontaneity are main ingredients of the album, which unites the talented electric and acoustic guitarist with bass explorer Dave Holland and drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith, among others. Like so much intellectual jazz, Point requires several listenings in order to be fully appreciated.
Guitarists Stanley Jordan and Kevin Eubanks team up for the 2015 Mack Avenue release Duets. An intimate, relaxed album, Duets features the esteemed journeyman artists playing both acoustic and electric instruments on a handful of classic standards, originals, and newer pop tunes. Rather than a cutting session, Duets works more as a laid-back conversation in which both musicians revel in the warmth of each other's sound. While they share a similar style, favoring a clean, unaffected approach to the guitar, there are enough differences in each player's sounds to easily distinguish them on a given track.
Kevin Eubanks' first album with a string section is a triumph of good taste, both in the guitarist's gently swinging work and in GRP chief Dave Grusin's unobtrusive, intelligent, unsentimental string charts. Grusin's gorgeously recorded strings seem to seep into the texture, filling the spaces with just enough mortar. The backings alternate between an electric group – with Marcus Miller on bass and Grusin applying the Yamaha DX7 electric piano sound – and often just Ron Carter on acoustic bass (plus the strings, of course).
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.
This album, issued in the wake of the stir caused by the Young Lions compilation album on Elektra Musician, is a first-rate mix of originals and standards beautifully executed by a group of studio players who include brothers Robin Eubanks on trombone, Charles on acoustic piano, and David on bass along with tenor saxophonist Ralph Moore and drummer Ronnie Burrage. Eubanks' choice of covers is brave; from Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" and Miles Davis' "Blue in Green" to Wes Montgomery's "The Thumb" and Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," he offers not only chops, but a keen ear for nuance and subtlety. The treatment of Monk's "Evidence" is particularly satisfying for retaining the pianist/composer's angles without sacrificing the swing quotient. Likewise, his solo reading of "The Thumb" is played with great taste, offering no show-off pyrotechnics, yet he interprets the tune for the present day. Eubanks' own tunes, such as "Inner-Vision" with Moore, Burrage, and David, are shaped and informed by not only jazz but soul and blues without falling into crossover cliche. This is a fine first effort. [After being out of print for a decade on CD, Guitarist was reissued by Wounded Bird in 2004.] ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide