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LINCROFT: A JAZZY ‘TONIGHT’ SHOW AT CBA

kevin_eubanks_white_backround-5795854Longtime ‘Tonight Show’ bandleader Kevin Eubanks is this year’s spotlight attraction at the annual jazz concert fundraiser at Christian Brothers Academy.

The recent graduation ceremony may have marched to the traditionally stately strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” but adhering to a recently minted tradition at Christian Brothers Academy, the close of the academic session is being given a jazzy jam-session coda, courtesy of this year’s edition of the CBA Jazz Series.

Tonight, the 350-seat Henderson Theatre at the Lincroft school hosts the sixth annual entry in the fundraiser concert series, an event that appropriately enough stars the onetime leader of TV’s Tonight Show band, guitarist Kevin Eubanks.

Best known for his role soundtracking Johnny Carson successor Jay Leno, the Philly-born musician fronted the late-night institution’s band between 1995 and 2010, followed Leno to his short-lived prime time variety show and made a brief return to the Burbank studio after the equally brief reign of Conan O’Brien as Tonight host (a stint that saw last year’s CBA guest star, local legend Max Weinberg, relocate to the West Coast for the occasion).

Well before that period of nightly national-TV exposure, the guitarist achieved acclaim among discerning jazzbos for his facility on the frets, his leadership of combos both big and small, and an in-demand versatility that’s seen him perform on an estimated 100-plus jazz, pop and soundtrack albums.

These days, the busy musician, part-time educator and occasional record label executive is performing in a quartet context that features the contributions of bassist Rene Camacho, saxman Bill Pierce and drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith. The tight group has logged numerous gigs together, and will join an esteemed Jazz Series roster that in addition to Weinberg has also included David Benoit, Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane and the Yellowjackets.

Tickets are still available for tonight’s 8 p.m. public-welcome concert, produced by Rumson resident Joe Tort and organized as a fundraiser for the performing arts programs at CBA. As part of the tradition established by the series, the featured guest artist will be joining young musicians from the school’s music program, when the student ensemble performs its opening act set, a highlight that Tort describes as “an example of the Academy’s differentiated offerings for its students, and its commitment to the performing arts.”

Take it here for reservations ($50), or call (732) 713-0683 for details on available premium pricing that includes a pre-show meet and greet reception with Eubanks.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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