The guitar has come a long way in jazz since its early role as a rhythm instrument. Quantum leaps forward in the guitar's development were achieved by Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. The 1980s are launching a new crew of young innovators on the guitar, and among them is Kevin Eubanks, who will bring his quartet to Blues Alley Tuesday. Ralph Moore will be on tenor saxophone, David Eubanks on bass and Eugene Jackson at the drums.
"Any kind of way people are accepting the guitar, I'm glad to see," says Eubanks of such new approaches as that of Stanley Jordan, who taps the instrument's strings keyboard fashion, "because there are a lot of good guitar players that just don't have a place to play. Guitar hasn't been an instrument that you hear every day on jazz records, but I think acceptance of it is being taken a lot more seriously."
Of his experiences in rock, funk, fusion, be-bop and free groups, Eubanks says, "Whenever it's something I could be learning, I felt very fortunate to be in that kind of situation, but it's time to . . . develop the music and move it forward. I think young musicians are going to answer the question of where it's all going. And we talk about that -- it's really a unique period."