Kevin Eubanks

Promise of Tomorrow

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From the disc's provocative cover art, you might expect lots of muscle from the future Tonight Show music director and Jay Leno sidekick. But except for the two funk tunes, "Cullerton Street" and "Haze," Eubanks sticks to fluid and finesse, finding both passion and elegance, but only bits and pieces of true excitement along the way. Luckily, the killer bass bounce of Kenny Davis and Eubanks' powerful electric strings on "Cullerton Street" more than compensate for the simple moodiness of material like "Eyes of a Lost Child" and the soft breeziness of "Promise of Tomorrow." There is a lot of good material here, such as "Angel with the Blues" and the elegant "Passage of a Prince," but simply not much to blow you away. The cover of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," for instance, could use a little more zest. On the up side, Eubanks is a wonderful soloist, with his electric improvs on "Haze" ringing quite memorably. Drummer Gene Jackson keeps solid time, and keyboardist Edward Simon shines on numbers like "Hope." What this collection shows is that Eubanks' songwriting is solid but isn't up to par with his playing. Still likable if you happen to be in that sentimental mood.

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