On September 8, 2015, the debut episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert aired. Aside from Colbert himself, a major part of the show’s identity was Jon Batiste and his Stay Human house band. Since early June this year, Batiste has actually been away from the show on a break, so band member Louis Cato has been filling in as leader. Now, that change has been made permanent: On last night’s Late Show, Colbert announced that Batiste is leaving the program after just shy of seven years.
Colbert shared the news last night, saying, “Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that Jon hasn’t been here this summer. Well, I have an update: Jon has decided to leave the show.” That got an “aww” from the audience and Colbert continued, “I know, I feel the same way, but it’s for all the best reasons, including to continue sharing his art with the world.”
He added, “We have been so lucky to have a front-row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years, and will we miss him here? [Batiste voice] ‘Yeeaah! Yeeaah!’ But we’re happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back on as a guest with your next hit record. I love you.”
Colbert went on to reveal that Cato is taking over as bandleader and that the house band is now called The Late Show Band.
Batiste has yet to offer a statement about leaving the show. He’s definitely in the midst of a career high-point, though: Earlier this year, he got five Grammy wins (including Album Of The Year for We Are) off a whopping 11 nominations, and he’ll soon be making his acting debut in a remake of The Color Purple.