Published: Apr 12, 2010 2:21 PM EDT

"Tonight Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks is making it official: He's leaving as Jay Leno's sideman in May after 18 years with the late-night host.

He told Leno during Monday's taping of "Tonight" in Burbank, Calif., that he was ready for a career change of pace, but he didn't announce specific plans. Eubanks called the NBC late-night show his "home" and said it had been "a wonderful experience" working there.

The 52-year-old Eubanks, whose duties included comic sidekick to Leno as well as guitarist, has been aboard since Leno took over "Tonight" in 1992. Eubanks became musical director when Branford Marsalis left in 1995.

In February, NBC said Eubanks had expressed interest in personal touring and recording.

His final day on "Tonight" is May 28.