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May 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Jay Leno gave the Tonight show bandleader Kevin Eubanks a full-fledged send-off Friday night, complete with a clip reel and a warm tribute. Eubanks, who had been a member of the Tonight show’s band since 1992 and its leader since 1995, had said in April that he planned to depart in order to pursue other career opportunities. It therefore came as something of a surprise when it was disclosed that the other five members of the band would be leaving with him. Their departure was not explained, but the suspicion immediately arose that Rickey Minor, the former American Idol music director who will be taking over from Eubanks, had demanded that he be allowed to select the musicians for the band. Minor is due to arrive on the scene on June 7.