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Rickey Minor joining ‘Tonight Show’

'American Idol' music director replacing Kevin Eubanks

“American Idol” music director Rickey Minor is moving to late night, joining NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Minor will replace “Tonight Show” music director Kevin Eubanks, who announced his exit date — May 28 – on Monday.

Minor, who becomes the third music director for Leno — following Eubanks and his original “Tonight Show” band leader, Branford Marsalis — will join the show on Monday, June 7.

Start date allows Minor to complete his run on this season’s “American Idol,” before moving on to the talk show.

“It is a privilege for all of us to have Rickey on board,” said Debbie Vickers, executive producer of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” “We couldn’t be more excited. The ‘Tonight Show’ has a long tradition of acclaimed musicians in this role and it’s great to now include Rickey alongside Kevin and Branford.”

A musician, composer, producer and author, Minor said that he was “honored to be a part of ‘The Tonight Show’ legacy.”

Minor received an Emmy nom for Outstanding Music Direction for his work with the Grammy Awards, as well as the CBS special “Genius: A Night for Ray Charles.” He also wrote the book “There’s No Traffic on the Extra Mile,” about his collaborations with artists such as Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Ray Charles and Beyonce.

Even as he moves on to “Tonight Show,” Minor will “continue to consult and work with “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller on various projects,” according to the announcement.

Minor’s other credits include serving as musical director of the Super Bowl and “The NAACP Image Awards.”

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