Philadelphia Music Alliance Welcomes Kevin Eubanks Home from Hollywood to Continue Celebration of City's Cultural Legacy as 1st 2010 Inductee
LONGTIME TONIGHT SHOW BANDLEADER TO RECEIVE NEXT BRONZE PLAQUE ON PHILADELPHIA WALK OF FAME
Germantown Jazz Guitarist-Composer to be Honored at Festive Induction Ceremony along Avenue of the Arts, Thursday, June 17, 2010
PHILADELPHIA (June 10, 2010) -- The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, a living tribute to Philadelphia's rich music history and a vital force unifying the city's diverse cultural communities along the Avenue of the Arts, will welcome home a man who's been a nightly fixture on late-night television for the past 15 years when longtime Tonight Show band leader KEVIN EUBANKS will be honored as recipient of the 113th commemorative bronze plaque along the Avenue of the Arts. Ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, June 17 from noon-2 p.m.
The induction of this latest Philadelphia music legend furthers the renewed commitment by the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA), supported by the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI), the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Philadelphia International Records and A Fight for the Cause to shed new light on the City's cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction. This agenda to recognize more local music greats in all genres is part of the community based, not-for-profit organization's overall mission to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music, and the foundation of a renewed commitment to schedule several induction ceremonies each year.
Eubanks' return to Philadelphia to be inducted along the Walk of Fame will be his first major honor since stepping down as music director of the Tonight Show band at the end of May to pursue his recording career and work with high school music programs. During his late-night tenure (which included writing the show's closing theme, Kevin's Country"), Eubanks regularly championed his Philly roots, in repartee with host Jay Leno and in wardrobe showcasing various Philadelphia sports teams. Eubanks' Philly pride, career integrity and dedication to music education combined with his accomplishments as a seasoned and respected jazz musician to make his selection an easy decision for the Philadelphia Music Alliance.
Kevin Eubanks is a shining example of the type of stellar recipients who embody the magnitude of the Walk of Fame and its continued impact on the Avenue of the Arts and Greater Philadelphia," says Joseph Tarsia, vice president and founding member of the PMA. Not only have his accomplishments had a significant impact in the world of music, but he also is a devoted ambassador of his home town."
Karen Lewis, executive director of AAI, said, We're excited about the ongoing resurgence of the Walk of Fame as it represents a unique opportunity to recognize Philadelphia legends. And as the premier destination for performing arts, the Avenue of the Arts is the perfect location for this tribute."
Adds music icons and original inductees Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, creators of the Sound of Philadelphia:
Philadelphia has created some of the biggest music stars in the world and their music continues to impact people's lives. The induction of Kevin Eubanks continues to celebrate that legacy in a special way with artists who are clearly among Philadelphia's Music Royalty, and are among the legendary unsung heroes and heroines deserving this honor."
Eubanks is a gifted musician and prolific composer whose own band, the Kevin Eubanks Quartet, has been evolving for close to 20 years. In his solo career and 18 years on the Tonight Show, he has won over audiences as a consummate guitarist with a laid back style and affability that have made him a household name for TV viewers.
Eubanks was born into a musical household in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and exposed to world-class music in his formative years. His mother, Vera, is a gospel and classical pianist and organist with a Masters Degree in music education. Vera's brother, Ray Bryant, is a journeyman jazz pianist who has recorded and toured with jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Sarah Vaughn. Eubanks began his musical journey on violin, and with his older brother Robin, an accomplished trombonist, played in small groups around Philadelphia. Kevin studied trumpet before committing to guitar and entering Berklee College of Music in Boston, which has since awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in music. He played with some of the stalwarts of jazz, like Ron Carter, Slide Hampton, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Sam Rivers, and Roy Haynes before forming his own quartet and touring around the world. Eubanks also has taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada, Rutgers University and at the Charlie Parker School in Perugia, Italy. His first album documented a sophisticated, nuanced voice on the guitar, and was so well received that it led to a seven album contract with the GRP label.
In 1992, Eubanks moved to the West Coast to assume the guitar spot in the Tonight Show Band, and became the band leader three years later. He has been writing scores for TV movies and feature films, and has devoted himself to his love of volunteer work for charities, particularly The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Eubanks continues to travel the country with his touring band, and plans to release several CDs by other distinguished artists on his new label, Insoul Music. In March, he was named Artistic Diretor of the Jazz in the Classroom Program for The Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, where he works with young up-and-coming middle and high school musicians in the Los Angeles public schools. As one of the most accomplished guitarists of his or any generation, Eubanks has deservedly become known to millions through music, TV and what so many artists know so well, lots of hard work."
Past PMA programs have included a Musical Instrument Donation Program in partnership with the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, an annual piano competition, the Philadelphia International Airport Music Project, Music In The Schools, music education scholarships and grants, a speakers bureau, as well as music business seminars and workshops - all designed to not only encourage our City's continued stellar contributions to the cultural heritage of the world but to fill a void created by shrinking budgets for cultural programs in our City and in our schools.
In 2008, the Philadelphia International Airport unveiled an exhibition spotlighting the Walk of Fame and the City's contribution to American music to visitors from all over the world.
The Alliance also serves as a resource to students, educators, musicians, city agencies, and other cultural institutions. The PMA has worked with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Multicultural Affairs Council, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Philadelphia Commerce Department, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Franklin Institute, Corporation for the Aging, Trane Stop, University of the Arts and the City Representative's Office on various projects.
The Walk of Fame is a stunning demonstration of the great talent that Philadelphia has produced. This talent spans many musical genres and time periods, and includes Leopold Stokowski, Frankie Avalon, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Patti LaBelle, Hall & Oates, Solomon Burke, Marian Anderson, Mario Lanza, John Coltrane, Todd Rundgren, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Teddy Pendergrass and Dick Clark.
The Philadelphia Music Alliance was founded in June 1986 as a community based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philadelphia as a vital contributor to the international music landscape. Established by music executives and concerned citizens in order to recognize the vast impact Philadelphia continues to have on all musical genres, the Philadelphia Music Alliance serves to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music.