Award-winning Edmonton artist Dave Babcock leads a rich musical life with an underlying confidence only a man of his abilities and experience can possess. For over three decades he’s earned his reputation as one of Canada’s finest saxophonists, his soulful playing steeped in the living traditions of jazz and blues. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, bandleader, producer, musical director and clinician, Dave is equally at home onstage or in the recording studio. He has performed in concert halls, live venues and at music festivals all across Canada and continues to be a first-call session player for artists and producers alike.
Over his career Dave has performed with Edmonton jazz greats Tommy Banks, Big Miller and PJ Perry, the Edmonton Jazz Orchestra, the Yardbird Suite All Stars, and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Dave has appeared with Canadian pop artists like Tom Cochrane, k.d. lang, Lighthouse, and Alfie Zappacosta. He’s played with Motown legends The Temptations, Martha & The Vandellas and Mary Wilson of The Supremes, along with R&B vocal groups The Coasters and The Platters. Dave has also worked with international artists like Glen Campbell, Petula Clark, Don Rickles, and Frank Sinatra Jr. not to mention a 3D hologram of Roy Orbison.
After graduating from the Faculty of Music at MacEwan University in 1982, Dave’s talent and determination helped him become an in-demand player on Edmonton’s vibrant music scene. Translating that success to the recording studio, he added dozens of album credits to his growing name. He would go on to establish himself as somewhat of an exception in the industry, not only working as a sideman and session musician, but simultaneously charting a successful solo career leading his own groups. Dave rose to prominence as a bandleader with his longtime jazz group The Jump Orchestra in the early ‘90s, and later with his dynamic blues band The Nightkeepers, both ensembles he continues to front today.
Throughout his long association with Edmonton roots label Stony Plain Records Dave has recorded with Long John Baldry, Amos Garrett, Jay McShann, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard, The Rockin’ Highliners, and Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne. He’s played on over a dozen Stony Plain releases to date, including Long John Baldry’s “Right To Sing The Blues” from 1991 and on the Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor album “The Return Of The Formerly Brothers” from 1987, both of which were Juno Award-winners.
A member of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band for the past 25 years, Dave has backed up legendary artists like Solomon Burke, Floyd Dixon, Rosco Gordon, Wanda Jackson, Taj Mahal and Jimmy Witherspoon, as well as contemporary artists Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Frazey Ford and Nick Waterhouse.
An active member of Canada’s blues community, Dave has had the opportunity to play with guitar great Albert Collins and regularly appears with Canadian bluesmen Jack De Keyzer, Colin James, Brent Parkin, and Jack Semple. He’s also had the pleasure of warming up for Willie Dixon, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton, The Pointer Sisters, George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and ZZ Top.
Winner – Edmonton Event Awards ‘Best Live Music’ (2019)
Winner – Calgary Blues Music Association Award ‘Horn Player of the Year’ (2013)
Nominee – Western Canadian Music Award ‘Best Instrumental Album’ for “Jump To It” – Dave Babcock and his Jump Orchestra (2011)
Nominee – Toronto Blues Society Maple Blues Award ‘Best Horn Player’ (2009)
Winner – Alberta Recording Industry Association Award ‘Best Jazz Artists’ for “Both Feet” – Dave Babcock’s Jump Orchestra (1992)