Filed Under:  Entertainment, Local, News

Jon Batiste in the spotlight with debut of ‘Late Night with Stephen Colbert’

8th September 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer
installment loans quincy il
Legendary teams like Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen and David Letterman and Paul Shaffer once ruled the post-prime time television airwaves. The hosts/comedians relied on the bandleaders to provide not only great music but to act as sidekicks or the straight men for their jokes and antics.

Entering the arena for the first time at 10:30 p.m. (CT) on September 8 is “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” with New Orleans’ own keyboardist/vocalist Jon Batiste acting as musical director and leading his band Stay Human.

At age 28, Batiste is the youngest musician to take on the challenges of such a position. Another of this city’s native sons, saxophonist Branford Marsalis took on a similar job when he was 32, acting as the musical director for the “Tonight Show featuring Jay Leno.”

New Orleans’ favorite son, Jon Batiste

New Orleans’ favorite son, Jon Batiste

With his huge musical talents, unabashed exuberance, quick smile and wit, Batiste appears a good match for the free-wheeling Colbert who previously hosted the successful, politically-bent and often hilarious “The Colbert Report.”

“The draw for both of us is the chemistry between the two of us,” says Batiste of his and Colbert’s rapport. “That’s not something you can buy. He’s an improviser by trade and I’m an improviser by trade. We advance cash tulsa ok know how to do stuff by the book but we’re also really really good at going off of the fly.”

The choice of Batiste and earlier on of Marsalis, who stayed with the “Tonight Show” for only three years, isn’t surprising as they both come from two of New Orleans’ most prominent musical families. They were raised in the music, lived the music since childhood and were ready and prepared to take on the world.

“I do believe it’s been a changing of the guard for late night,” says Batiste, making reference to Colbert replacing Letterman and in 2009 NBC hiring host Jimmy Fallon – along with the funkified band The Roots – to replace Jay Leno.

Batiste began his musical journey playing drums at age eight and regularly performed with the Batiste Kids Band at the New Orleans Children’s Museum. He was instructed by his elders that he had to sing with the group too, he remembers with a laugh. Early on, he also played with the Batiste Brothers Band, a soul and funk group established back in 1976 composed of his father, bassist Michael Batiste and his uncles.

It was at the suggestion of his mother that Jon, who many locals remember as how to get a personal loan without a credit check Jonathan from his youth, switched to piano at around age 11. “Her intuition was right,” Batiste allows. “As soon as I picked up the piano it made me feel like I had found my best friend. The piano fit in a way that made me feel some sort of spiritual connection.”

Attending the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) was a natural for the gifted young man who became a regular on this city’s jazz scene, heading his own groups and performing with others including clarinetist Alvin Batiste and the Jazztronauts.

Even before heading to the East Coast, like so many ambitious musicians before him, to attend New York’s Julliard School, he and fellow NOCCA student, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, were looking at ways to at once retain their New Orleans musical roots while making themselves accessible to young audiences and the world market. With Batiste soon to be seen five nights a week on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” and Andrews touring heavily and having hit a No. 1 position on Billboard magazine’s Contemporary Jazz Chart, the two talents have achieved visibility on the global map.

“Whatever style of music we start to experiment with, we’re always going to have that range of emotion that comes with fast loan online secured the New Orleans sound,” says Batiste who, as heard on his 2013 release Social Music moves beyond his jazz base to bring on some hip, modern pop sounds and kicks it further by picking up a hand-held, blown keyboard called a melodica. “That’s a special thing (the New Orleans sound) – it influenced the world and it’s not going to go anywhere. I definitely think people are tired of the music that has been promoted to them. New Orleans music is so real and so human. It just sounds so much like life. The nature of New Orleans music is to embrace everything and make it their own thing.

Jon Batiste and Stay Human were touring heavily from 2013 through 2014 in promotion of its Social Music CD when spotted by a producer of Colbert’s show. Batiste assumed he’d continue hitting the road again until he got the offer for the prestigious “Late Night” position. The show tapes 202 days a year with nights and weekends free but considering the responsibilities of the job, Batiste will have a full plate.

“They are giving me loads of creative freedom so much so that I have to plan and curate not only what we’re going to play but musical guests and arrange different collaborations,” cash advance Scottsdale Ariz. he explains. “It’s going to be pretty amazing to have such a platform and to think about creative ways to put music on television.

“I’ll have plenty of time to tour but it will be a question of whether or not I’ll have the energy to do it,” Batiste continues adding that he will be performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2016.

With Jon Batiste appearing nightly on the tube, New Orleans and its rich musical heritage and legendary charm, of which he is full, will burst into living rooms across the nation.

“It’s not only promoting New Orleans music but it’s also promoting an alternative to popular culture,” Batiste says. “I just think there should be other music that people can listen to and should check out if they’re under the age of 40. New Orleans has always been about a gumbo of different cultural influences. New Orleans music started as a regional sound and then you get guys coming out like Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Sidney Bechet and they make it the root of jazz music. Now in our generation it’s a global sound. We’re doing that in our own way.”

This article originally published in the September 7, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.