The View From L.A. with Jeff Babko

Every Monday, pianist and keyboardist Jeff Babko gives us a glimpse of the music being made in Los Angeles.

Babko takes us inside the recording studios where he’s worked with artists like Larry Carlton, Nathan East and James Taylor; the film studios where he’s worked on soundtracks including Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2; and gigs like serving as the musical director for Martin Short and playing nightly on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Plus, he’s got the view from the street with the latest jazz clubs to visit in the hottest L.A. neighbourhoods.

Jan. 18, 2021

This week, Jeff Babko tells us stories about working with Michael and Randy Brecker, Steve Gadd and James Taylor.

Jan. 11, 2021

This episode features stirring tributes from some of the biggest names in jazz as they remember the recently closed Blue Whale.

Jan. 4, 2021

This week, Jeff Babko talks about the closing of a great club called the Blue Whale, and about his weirdest and worst Christmas and New Year’s gigs.

Dec. 21, 2020

This week’s episode is about counting our blessings this year, and we’re joined for an exclusive performance by Grammy nominee Sara Gazarek.

Dec. 14, 2020

Bassist extraordinaire Lee Sklar stops by to talk about what he’s been doing over the last few months.

Dec. 7, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko counts down his top five Christmas jazz albums.

Nov. 23, 2020

This week, Los Angeles-based drummer Kevin Stevens talks about his group, the Rumproller Organ Trio.

Nov. 16, 2020

This week, we’re joined by Drumhead magazine publisher Jonathan Mover about his huge, two-day virtual drum conference.

Nov. 9, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko talks about Donte’s, the historic jazz club in Los Angeles.

Nov. 2, 2020

This week’s episode is about unsung hero Jay Gruska, who started as a recording artist and has since moved into being a top scorer and arranger for movies and television.

Oct. 26, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko looks back on some of the craziest and most inspiring moments he’s experienced on stage and in the studio.

Oct. 19, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko catches up with guitarist extraordinaire Anthony Wilson to talk about music, Los Angeles and his dad, Gerald Wilson.

Oct. 5, 2020

Inspired by the new documentary Live From the Space Stage: A HALYX Story, this week Jeff Babko tells tales of musicians landing gigs at theme parks like Disneyland and Magic Mountain.

Sept. 21, 2020

After spending four years in the Emmys band, Jeff Babko gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like for a musician in that situation. We also hear more insights from Eli Brueggemann, the Emmy-winning musical director of the Saturday Night Live band.

Sept. 14, 2020

This week, we get a look at “Bab’s stack of wonder wax.” Jeff Babko dives into his vinyl collection to find a few recordings that are interesting, to say the least, and that may not necessarily come from the golden era of jazz.

Sept. 7, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko talks sound mixing with producer John Paterno.

Aug. 31, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko assembles some incredible drummers to share a love letter to a drum store institution in L.A.

Aug. 24, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko tells us about L.A. musician, arranger and composer Glenn Morrissette, who has taken a different approach to his work-life balance.

Aug. 17, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko catches up with legendary tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer.

Aug. 3, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko shares his stories and memories of Henson Recording Studios, a legendary studio in the heart of Los Angeles.

July 27, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko talks about the greatness that is drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, fills us in on a jazz hot spot called Sam First and what they’re doing during COVID-19, and shares some memories of attending jazz camp as a teenager and meeting tenor sax player Gordon Brisker.

July 20, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko takes a look at legendary Los Angeles record shop Freakbeat Records. Their long history includes being the location for a famous scene in Spinal Tap. Special guest Paul Shaffer stops by to talk about his role as Arti Fufkin and some memories of playing in L.A.

July 13, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko looks at the importance of being skilled in many genres of music, especially now. To that end, he speaks with Kaveh Rastegar, a founding member of the prog jazz band Kneebody, who is also a prolific songwriter and producer and plays bass with John Legend and Bruce Springsteen.

July 7, 2020

Jeff Babko returns to talk about his experiences performing with legendary keyboardist George Duke and drummer Ricky Lawson. He also shares his thoughts on the recent passing of Los Angeles staple Joe Porcaro, father to a musical dynasty.

June 15, 2020

This week, we’re talking podcasts. Jeff Babko has a brief chat with Jimmy Pardo, one of the originators of the comedy/music podcast Never Not Funny. They talk music and Canada and we listen to a great tune from Gino Vannelli.

June 8, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko puts the spotlight on a legendary section of Los Angeles in the ’40s and ’50s: Central Avenue, a hotbed of jazz and Black culture. The sometimes overlooked Teddy Edwards is featured with Milt Jackson, and we quiz Babko on his long-time friend and musical partner Martin Short.

June 1, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko talks about some of the best venues he’s ever played, including the White House, Red Rocks and the legendary Baked Potato in Los Angeles, which has just begun streaming live music from the club for all to see.

May 25, 2020

This week, we speak with Jeff Babko about the challenges of making music as your profession, especially in the very competitive environment of Los Angeles. He puts the spotlight on vocalist Jesse Palter, an artist who has spoken and written about the mental health challenges that come with operating within the music industry. We also listened to Goodbye My Friend, a beautiful tune from Palter’s recording Paper Trail.

May 18, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko shares his thoughts and memories of the legendary Hollywood Bowl, after the decision was made to cancel its entire season for the first time since it was built in 1929. He shares music from one of his favourite live recordings from the Hollywood Bowl and also takes a quiz that tests his knowledge of the movies of which he has been a part.


May 11, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko talks about how home recording has become the new way of life for musicians during the coronavirus pandemic. With studios all but shut down, we get insights on how to start the process from Andrew Synowiec, one of the most in-demand guitarists in Los Angeles.

March 9, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko takes us to the record swap at the Pasadena City College Flea Market, digging up some cool vinyl finds and visiting one of his favourite features of the flea market: the Pie ‘n Burger food truck. Listen to the segment below.

March 2, 2020

This week, Jeff Babko takes us to Highland Park, a newly hip and desirable neighbourhood in Los Angeles where there’s a very cool club called ETA, which features jazz on a regular basis, including incredible artists like Jeff Parker who recently played there. Listen to the segment below.