Jeff Babko, the in-demand pianist and keyboardist, was celebrated on Jimmy Kimmel's show as Lin-Manuel Miranda made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 15, 2022. Jeff is one of the live band players on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Miranda jokingly pulled Babko's leg on the show, saying that all the appreciation that the soundtrack of Encanto is receiving is "all his fault." Encanto has received three Oscar nominations this year, two of them being the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, which owes credit to the acclaimed musician.
Let's take a look at the career of this extraordinary recording artist who has worked on several projects across his varied career.
All about Jeff Babko and his extraordinary career
Jeff Babko is a well-known pianist and keyboardist who has dedicated his life to mastering his profession and making contributions to the music industry. He has traveled the world, collaborated with major musicians, and is currently the music arranger, composer, and house band member of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
For Jeff, it all began at an early age. He recalls being captivated by music and, in particular, album artwork. He was captivated by the record artwork's ability to frame the aural experience he had while listening to the tracks.
It wasn't long before he was studying new instruments and putting his natural curiosity for music to good use.
After graduating from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, he went on to collaborate with Julio Iglesias on a series of globe tours. Given his youth, he admits that he didn't always handle those tours well, despite the fact that he matured and learned a lot as a musician.
However, being on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week was not the lifestyle he desired, so he began seeking more session work. Since 1999, he's been a member of TV show house bands and is currently in demand as a film and television music composer and arranger.
Babko's film scores include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in addition to his recording albums. He has also worked on Deadpool 2, Up in the Air, and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, among other films.
He also keeps himself busy running and recording at TudorTones, his own studio where he also records and collaborates with his wife, studio violinist Songa Lee.
Encanto, the blockbuster Disney animated feature film, has been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song at the 2022 Academy Awards.