Hot Hot Hot
Shanaz Baksh | Virginia | 02/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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, and if you could, dip yourself.
The Heat of the Heat of Heat
M. J. Marran | Tallahassee, FL | 02/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a tenured professor at an accredited college of music, I have long argued to my colleagues and students that the finest musical mind of our time is that of Kevin Eubanks, the esteemed leader of The Tonight Show Band.
As you can probably imagine, this statement is usually met with blank stares or a reactionary: "Surely you are joking."
Friends, I am not joking, and don't call me Shirley.
I thought this page was an appropriate place for me to share my thoughts on Mr. Eubanks and his work.
Firstly, it is a shame that The Heat of Heat is not more widely renowned and available. It has become a collector's item, and I am proud to own several copies of the original 1987 release. You can imagine my joy when I play it to a classroom full of eager young minds whose faces light up with joy and understanding as the chords and lyrics elegantly unravel before them.
"Who is this?" one excitable student exclaimed during a summer course I was teaching in 1997.
"Guess," I said, barely able to contain my smile.
"Stevie Wonder? James Brown? Otis Redding?"
"Kevin Eubanks!" I nearly shouted, throwing my arms joyfully into the air. The student looked dubious at first, but then, slowly, I saw recognition form in his eyes. A lifetime friendship was born in that moment as another member joined the small but fervent Eubanks Appreciation Society. That very same student served as the best man at my wedding to my second wife in the summer of 2001.
As a reader, I'm sure you're saying by now: "Okay, okay. I get it. You love this music. But why? What makes it so special in a literally endless sea of songwriters, bands, composers and their works?"
If I could post my Grad Thesis, "A Working Man's Genius in the Life and Rhythms of Kevin Eubanks" I would. It would explain the brilliance of his composing, his ear for chords and his sharp, insightful lyrics. This is meant to be a short user review however, so instead I'll describe my first experience with The Heat of Heat.
It was the summer of 1987. I was an undergrad on spring break in Miami. I hadn't been interested in going along, but Bobby my roommate had pressured me into it, promising an unforgettable trip. He was right. Drinking and drugging wasn't my scene, so while my friends spent their days nursing hangovers in the Florida sun, I explored the city. One afternoon I stumbled across a small independent music shop in Downtown. Prominently displayed in the window were dozens of copies of The Heat of Heat with Mr. Eubanks stoically posed on the cover. I couldn't help but be intrigued, though to this day I cannot say why. I stood on the sidewalk staring at that album for what seemed like hours before I finally went inside and bought a copy.
The rest of my memory of that vacation is fuzzy but wonderful, such as what I imagine veterans of the first Woodstock recall. I locked myself away in my room with my cassette player and played The Heat of Heat over and over again. I barely ate. I didn't shower. My friends thought I was depressed or insane, but I didn't care. If there is a God, then he and I were enjoying each others company and listening to some great music that week.
On the final night of the trip, I asked to go along with Bobby and company as they hit a local nightclub. My time with The Heat of Heat had swelled my libido, and it was lapping over at the sides, urging me for release. I met Luciana that night, my first wife, and we made love on the beach, as my cassette player spoke the language of Kevin to us. We finished just as Third Interior came to an close. This, readers, was truly the heat of the Heat of Heat. I implore all of you to buy this album, grab the one you love, and have this experience. These moments are what life is all about.
In closing, if Dylan's Blonde on Blonde was the first step in exploring music as poetry, music as history, and music as the language of the people, then Kevin Eubanks finished the walk with The Heat of Heat.
Buy it while you can.
Barry J. Williams | Washington, DC | 02/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've long been a fan of Mr. Kevin Eubanks as the band leader for the Tonight Show (I don't count that blip of Max Weinberg being the band leader). His musical skills and quick banter have always served as a sort of inspiration to me.
So, I thought to myself, "Hey Barry, why don't you see what else Mr. Eubanks has out there?" As it turns out, Mr. Eubanks released this wonderful collection of his music in 1987 (a very formative year for me in a lot of ways and I can't believe that I missed this when it first came out.)
The title track (#4), "Heat of Heat," is really a work of art and I think is a great demonstration of Mr. Eubanks' skills as a musician and performer. This is the song is a great introduction to Mr. Eubanks for any of your friends.
"First Things First" (#5) is probably the song that has the most personal meaning for me as it is the song my late wife and I were listening to as we were conceiving our first daughter. Although, we probably should have been listening to #8 "Receipt Please [*]." I'M KIDDING SUSAN, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU.
All in all, this album is probably your best way to start what I am sure will be a lifetime fandom of Kevin Eubanks. Fortunately, there are a lot of people reselling this album as I petition the record label to make a reprint.