When Rickey Minor takes over as the new “Tonight Show” band leader on Monday, that won’t be the only musical change on the late night yakker.
As exiting band leader Kevin Eubanks revealed in his farewell last week, the entire “Tonight Show” band is departing with him.
That means that Minor, as music director, has been given full leeway to form his own new band — of which some members are joining him from his previous gig on “American Idol.”
Minor will also introduce a brand new “Tonight Show” theme song — which makes the second theme song switchover for Jay Leno in recent months. (That also makes for four different theme songs for “The Tonight Show” over a little more than a year, when Conan O’Brien’s theme is also included.)
That’s because Eubanks introduced a brand new theme for “The Jay Leno Show” last September, retiring the original “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” theme that Leno had used for years. When Leno returned to “The Tonight Show” this past March, Eubanks opted to stick with “The Jay Leno Show” theme, which he wrote, vs. Leno’s old “Tonight Show” theme, which written by original music director Branford Marsalis.
But with Eubanks gone, that has given Minor an opportunity to create a new theme, which will open the show this Monday, June 7.
Meanwhile, the new “Tonight Show” band lineup includes music director Minor on bass guitar; Teddy Campbell on drums; Paul Jackson Jr on guitar; J. Wayne Linsey and David Delhomme on keyboard; Kevin Ricard on percussion; Randolph Ellis and Miguel Gandelman on woodwind; Raymond Monteiro on trumpet; Garrett Smith on trombone; and Dorian Holley on vocals.