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Meet Jon Batiste, Stephen Colbert’s new band leader for ‘The Late Show’

The 28-year-old with be the first new band leader on the program in 30 years.


Rae Votta


Posted on Jun 4, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 4:14 pm CDT

Stephen Colbert officially tapped a band leader for his turn at The Late Show. Colbert traveled to New Orleans to introduce the Juilliard-trained Jon Batiste and his band, Stay Human, which includes a tubist, a saxophonist and a percussionist.

Batiste, who succeed Paul Shaffer as Late Night‘s band leader, appeared on The Colbert Report last summer, performing “Express Yourself” from his album, Social Music.

Social Music is more than just a album title for Batiste; it’s also a style of performance. According to his site, he often brings audience members on stage to join him in what he calls “love riots.” He’s also the artistic director at large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and has acted in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer. He also played himself on HBO’s Treme.  (His family helped inspire the series.) 

Batiste doesn’t have a lot of music on his YouTube channel, but what he does have is impressive, including a live performance on a Utah mountain.

There’s also this sterling rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Batiste will make his debut when Colbert’s Late Show premieres September 8. 

Screengrab via The Late Show/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 4, 2015, 9:25 pm CDT