In Your Ear: Kevin Eubanks

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Jazz guitarist and former "Tonight Show" band leader Kevin Eubanks tells what music he listens to on his personal playlist.

(Soundbite of music)

TONY COX, host:

And finally today, the segment you know as In Your Ear. This is where we ask a guest of the program to tell us about the music that's hot on their own personal playlist.

Today, we hear from jazz guitarist and former "Tonight Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks.

Mr. KEVIN EUBANKS (Musician): Hi, this is Kevin Eubanks and I'm currently listening to a song on Hanson's new record called "Musical Ride." And it talks about someone wanting another person to be more in their world of music and how much this can do for them to go on this musical ride with them.

(Soundbite of song, "Musical Ride")

HANSON (Pop Group): (Singing) Come on this musical ride with me. It might just change the life you think you're gonna lead. If I'm right you might just stop and see. I'll take your breath away. Show you more than you have known. And everyday I'll give you all this, nothing, and more.

Mr. EUBANKS: They kind of opened you to show this person's mind, to where music can take you and they want to be closer to this person, so they're inviting them to get into their world, and in a way to getting into to their world is going on a musical ride with them and they can show them all the places where they go in their own mind, and perhaps it will be something that they'd enjoy as well.

So I always thought that was a nice way of introducing your world to someone was asking them to take a musical ride with you and they can see all the places where you go musically which reflects a lot of places that you go in your own mind.

(Soundbite of song, "Musical Ride")

HANSON: (Singing) Don't make your mind up just yet. It's still so much for you to see. And every time you waste a moment, you waste make believe.

Mr. EUBANKS: And I'm also listening to a song by Nina Simone.

(Soundbite of song, "Feeling Free")

Ms. NINA SIMONE (Musician): (Singing) Birds flying high you know how I feel.

Mr. EUBANKS: And it reflects on how we carry the burdens of one day into the next day. But the reality is, that if the sun was so worried about what yesterday was like then you wouldnt have that much to look forward to.

(Soundbite of song, "Feeling Free")

Ms. SIMONE: (Singing) It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life for me. Yeah, its a new dawn. It's a new day. Its a new life...

Mr. EUBANKS: So this song represents the power and positivity of a new day.

(Soundbite of song, "Feeling Free")

Ms. SIMONE: (Singing) And I'm feeling good. Fish in the sea you know how I feel. River running free you know how I feel. Blossom on the tree you know how I feel. It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life for me and I'm feeling good.

Mr. EUBANKS: The third song is a song that I always listen to periodically in my life and its by Janis Ian, and its called "Stars."

(Soundbite of song, "Stars")

Ms. JANIS IAN (Musician): (Singing) I was never one for singing, what I really feel...

Mr. EUBANKS: It's about the arc of a star and a lot of the sacrifices that stars have to go through in order to maintain a certain place in the public idea of what a star is and the things that you leave behind and how bright you have to burn in order to reflect in the light of so many people. But at the end of the day, when a star comes and goes. So I always kind of keep that song close to me.

It makes me reflect on a lot of things that I see in this business and in the music, and not just musical world, but there are stars of every kind. And you dont have to be a performer to be a star or be in that type of environment where people perceive you as a star and everything that goes along with that.

(Soundbite of song, "Stars")

Ms. IAN: (Singing) People lust for fame, like athletes in a game. We break our collarbones and come up swinging. Some of us are down. Some of us are crowned...

COX: That was Kevin Eubanks telling us about the music playing in his ear.

Next week, we'll hear Michel Martin's interview with Eubanks as he talks about life after the "Tonight Show."

That's our program for today. Im Tony Cox and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Lets talk more tomorrow.

(Soundbite of song, "Stars")

Ms. IAN: (Singing) They always come up singing. Some make it when they're young, before the world has done it's dirty job. And later on, someone will say, you've had your day, now you must make way. But they'll never know the pain of living with a name you never owned.

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