While we may not know exactly what The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will look like when it premieres in September, we’re finally starting to get tiny tidbits of what the highly anticipated talk show may be. We saw the show’s first promo yesterday, in which Stephen shaved his #Colbeard, and he’s announced today who his bandleader will be.
Instead of going with more comedic musicians like Reggie Watts on The Late Late Show with James Corden or Fred Armisen on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Colbert chose a relative unknown — at least in the mainstream — in jazz musician Jon Batiste.
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So, for the uninitiated, who exactly is Jon Batiste? Well, a musical prodigy spun from the cultural roux of New Orleans, Batiste is a student of The Juilliard School who started playing drums in his family band at 8, switched to piano at 12, and released his first album at the age of 17, since performing all across the world. His day job (well, probably old day job, now) is the Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. But not only an educator, he’s released several albums with his band Stay Human, as well as with special projects like The Process with Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Honestly, you may have the answer to the question “Who is Jon Batiste?” more than you know. He’s appeared in film and TV so many times in the past decade right before your naked eyes: Batiste has performed at the 2008 NBA All-Star Game, and had a recurring role on HBO’s Treme, as well as a role in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer. In fact, Batiste even appeared on The Colbert Report in 2014, perhaps as a sign of things to come.
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The jazz man clearly knows how to have a good time. Lucky for us, so does Colbert. It should make for a pretty fantastic pairing.