Jay Leno welcomes Rickey Minor to 'The Tonight Show'

Former American Idol music director Rickey Minor made his debut as The Tonight Show’s new band leader last night in a cold open bit that ended with a punchline about his being excited to join a network that pumps out so many hits [cue Jay Leno‘s raised eyebrow].

Minor’s presence was subdued, and though I was never a huge Kevin Eubanks fan (are there huge Kevin Eubanks fans?), I will say I noticed the absence of his innocuous wit (if not his polite laughs) during the monologue. I suspect Minor will ease his way into a more prominent role as time goes by. He looked nice, though. And the music sounded as good as it did with Eubanks — perhaps Minor’s arrangements featured a bit more horns than Eubanks’ more guitar-centric numbers? I’m reaching here.

Anyone miss Eubanks last night? What’d we think of Minor’s music? Who’s the best late-night band leader in the biz?

More from EW.com:
‘American Idol’ music director Rickey Minor’s out. Should he have gotten a montage?
Rickey Minor talks new ‘Tonight Show’ gig, current season of ‘Idol’
Kevin Eubanks says good-bye to ‘The Tonight Show’
Rickey Minor to replace Kevin Eubanks on ‘The Tonight Show’

Comments (45 total) Add your comment
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  • erin

    That’d be Jimmy fallon. The roots? Who could top that???

    • Johnification

      I know! Jimmy really scored. I also love Max Weinberg. I mean, you get Bruce’s drummer PLUS he’s hilarious? What a combo!

    • Henry

      Right, you are, Erin. The Roots! Every night Fallon has a “special musical guest” and they are ?uestlove and The Roots.

  • bamabunny

    The video doesn’t play…now what?

    • malcolm tent

      Guess it’s time for a new internet, just for you!

  • Darren

    He was terrible on American Idol. Sometimes the band was worse than the contestants. It’s only fitting that he goes to Leno.

    • Jack

      Minor is lousy compared to Eubanks.

  • Zakry

    six of one, half dozen of the other

  • Sara

    Kevin Eubanks is adorable and a damn good, cool musician. Ricky’s brand-new to the job so we’ll have to see how things shake out. I don’t think it’s easy to go from a more or less background position on one show to being the sidekick-in-the-limelight on another. P.S. Max Weinberg is creepy.

  • erin

    Nobody can beat Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7. Incredible musicians who are also hilarious!

  • Howard

    Hands down, Paul Shaffer is the best late night band leader. No questions asked.

  • Dwight

    As far as pure musical talent, history, etc. No one and I mean no one tops Paul F’ing Shaffer. He has been doing it for 30 years and can jam with anyone from Warren Zevon to Fitty Cent. The Roots are great but will not be their five years from now. Max Weinberg, very cool, but not even on the air. Ricky Minor? He is Wayne Brady to Kevin Eubanks Dave Chappelle.

    • Johnification

      Does that mean that Ricky Minor is gonna have to cut a b****?

    • LaLa

      Sorry but I think Ricky Minor is the best! I love how the band sounded last night! Ricky Minor is a musical genius and I am happy he is on Leno! I just wished he could do Idol too! He will be missed!

      • Casey

        “Ricky Minor is a musical genius”


      • LoNote

        To Casey – uhhh, yeah Rickey Minor IS a musical genious. His skill level on the bass is insane ; his knowledge of musical arranging is over the top. The man has a resume that speaks volumes. I’m a bassist with 30+ years of playing experience and have followed Rickey’s career ever since his stint as Whitney Houstons musical director. So yeah, the man has it going on. Just the facts :)

  • Lyn

    Couldn’t tell from this clip, but I just hope the new band has changed/updated the show’s horrendous opening theme. It was like musical sandpaper — just grating and cacophonous.

  • reel_deal

    @Lyn yes they did change the opening theme, and I’m sure Leno took it easy on Minor for his first day.

  • himselfincluded

    I was @ the Opening SHow Last Night @ Leno.. ANd Ricky Minor And The Band Was amazing!! All of them are all stars @ their Fields.. NOt as well known as Quest Love & THe Roots, But believe me, Jus as talented ( If not more talented). Every Member of the band has a resume that exceeds Greatness!! Take iT From someone Who knows!! THey are the TRUUTHH!! PEACE FOLKS! Himselfincluded.wordpress.com

  • sally

    I loved Ricky Minor and the band last night. Thought they did an awesome job.

  • Gads What a choice

    Didn’t miss PuBanks and will look forward to this band self distructing. Where is doc when you need him.

  • Bob

    My opinion is that this new band wont last that long. Its a great band but I feel there is no connection between Leno and Minor.

  • Langdon

    Finally! REAL music instead of noise.

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