Encore | Kevin Eubanks

October 2017 View more

Inspiration: musical and otherwise
My earlier heroes were rock guys—mostly from that short-lived period in the 1970s when fusion was really happening—but eventually jazz greats like Wes Montgomery and Sonny Stitt and Oscar Peterson as well. It’s more than just musicians, though; I get a certain kind of energy from people who put themselves on the line to better society.

Looking back on “The Tonight Show”
Other than the traffic in L.A., I loved everything about that experience of being inspired by people who I might have never met otherwise. Where else could I have had the chance to work with people like B.B. King and Dolly Parton? It was like a backstage pass to a lot of different worlds, and I enjoyed the whole ride.

Importance of music education
It’s not necessarily about becoming a musician. I think being educated in music brings a lot more compassion to the decisions that you make no matter what field you’re in; it helps you think more creatively, listen more closely and work together with people toward a common goal. I really don’t understand why you’d ever want to pull that out of an education system.

The ‘Tonight Show’ music director performs at Wentz on October 7.