Roy Babbington's basslines pulsate directly from the heart of the creative British jazz scene of the '70s. Bandleaders such as the fine pianist Keith Tippett and trumpeter Ian Carr made use of the bassist in stimulating music from this period, and for the fusion jazz crusades of this decade. Babbington marched in no less a legion than Soft Machine. He was a member of this important group from 1974 through 1976, having been a professional musician since the age of 18. His move to London in the late '60s and subsequent employment as a session musician is where his associations began to evolve from nameless dance bandleaders and tavern bands to the likes of Tippett and Carr.
Babbington was featured in rhythm sections backing American jazz artists on tour in England, and by the late '70s, had become involved in dramatic music through a series of productions at the National Theatre. He had later associations with Harry Beckett, Graham Collier, and Barbara Thompson and in the '80s could be heard in the shadows of pianist Stan Tracey's combos as well as on the air with the BBC Radio Orchestra. The former artist brought out Babbington's best on albums such as Genesis, released on the Steam label in 1987. Babbington maintains a steady presence on the London live jazz scene, in 2001 fitting comfortably into the trio groove of the inimitable Mose Allison for a series of live recordings. The bassist's sessions for Elvis Costello in the '90s brought much more renown, but Babbington's involvement with unique singer/songwriters goes back decades, not only through collaborations with Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt but with the underrated Chris Youlden in the '70s. Following the death of bassist Hugh Hopper in 2009, Babbington joined the Soft Machine Legacy quartet (also featuring drummer John Marshall, guitarist John Etheridge, and saxophonist/flutist Theo Travis), appearing on the group's Live Adventures in 2010 and Burden of Proof in 2013. ~ Eugene Chadbourne