NEW YORK–“Tonight Show” guitarist Kevin Eubanks took time off for a most unusual and invigorating Gotham gig at Bradley’s, returning to that venue Aug. 2 .
Mellow, introspective set was a well-received change of pace for the usually agressive soloist.
Beautifully meshing with bassist Dave Holland and pianist James Williams, Blue Note recording artist Eubanks stuck with electric guitar but played it with an acoustic feel and classical guitar fingerings. His virtuoso technique was occasionally on display in sudden double-time runs but always modulated in volume.
Set of mainly standards and ballads reflected a group presence rather than flashy solos with all three performers smoothly segueing into an accompanist role.
Highlight was opening set closer “Footprints,” an eerie Wayne Shorter composition from the durable ’60s Miles Davis LP “Miles Smiles.” With Holland maintaining the contrapuntal pulse of the tune’s hypnotic bass line, the three-deep standing room crowd listened in absolute silence.
New “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno might want to give Eubanks some solo space on the program, analogous to Johnny Carson’s memorable spotlight on Mundell Lowe performing a Carson favorite, “Here’s That Rainy Day.”