Calgary Bluesfest (2007)
For over two decades, Dave Babcock has built his reputation as one of Canada's finest saxophonists. This dynamic horn man is known not only for his instrumental prowess but also as a respected bandleader and more recently as a fine vocalist. His playing is steeped in the living traditions of Jazz and R&B, although he's not limited to those styles alone. He's moved with the times and kept his finger on the pulse of today's music without forgetting his roots. Dave is a career musician, who's always looked for new horizons and creative opportunities to continue growing as an artist. He's now making his mark as a solo artist with the release of his debut album, Happenstance.
Originally from Vancouver, Dave took up the saxophone and began his playing career in Edmonton. After graduating from the Grant MacEwan College music program, he honed his skills with local acts playing a variety of Jazz, Blues, R&B and Pop music.
Since those early days, Dave has gone on to perform or record with artists like Long John Baldry, Tommy Banks, Solomon Burke, Glen Campbell, Petula Clark, Albert Collins, Jack deKeyzer, Floyd Dixon, Cornell Dupree, Amos Garrett, Crystal Gayle, Rosco Gordon, Colin James, Flaco Jimenez, Johnnie Johnson, KD Lang, Jimmy McCracklin, Taj Mahal, Big Jay McShann, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Duke Robillard, The Rockin' Highliners, Doug Sahm, Ian Tyson, Mary Wilson of The Supremes and Jimmy Witherspoon. He's also warmed up for Willie Dixon, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton, NRBQ, The Pointer Sisters, George Thorogood and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Dave is a much sought after studio musician and sideman, with appearances on two Juno award-winning albums amongst his numerous album credits. He's performed many times on radio and television shows, played at major jazz and folk festivals and in theatres and nightclubs all across Canada.
Over the past fifteen years, Dave has led several of his own successful and critically acclaimed bands including the neo-soul group, The Devotees, the highly regarded jazz group The Jump Orchestra, tex-mex and zydeco band Fat Tuesday and retro show band The Kit Kat Club. The Jump Orchestra won the 1992 ARIA award for "best jazz artists" for their album Both Feet and a 1992 AMPIA award for "best music video".
In the spring of 2003, Dave began pre-production on his first solo album, Happenstance. This instrumental jazz album contains ten original songs, the majority of them penned by Dave and co-writer, keyboard player Chris Andrew. The music was recorded at 10th Street Studios and mixed at Beta Sound Recorders. Happenstance reflects a new direction and artistic maturity in Dave's writing and playing. That new direction is evident in the contemporary style of the album, featuring grooves drawn from Hip-Hop, House, Funk and Latin music.
Dave was joined on the recording by Edmonton's premier jazz musicians; Lyle Molzan and Sandro Dominelli on drums, Mario Allende on percussion, Mike Lent on bass, Greg Smith and Calgary's Russ Broom on guitar, Chris Andrew on keyboards and Bob Tildesley on trumpet. Happenstance was released to a sold-out audience on April 10, 2004 at Edmonton's Yardbird Suite.
Dave's soulful saxophone and smooth vocals are currently being showcased in The Dave Babcock Group. Other projects he also leads include the instrumental smooth jazz group Audioluxe, neo-soul project The Devotees, traditional jazz band The Jump Orchestra and with his own high-octane jump blues outfit, The Nightkeepers. Dave is also a long-time member of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival house band.