Stephen Colbert's New Bandleader Jon Batiste is Jazzing Up Late Night
Raised in a musical family (his father is a member of the Batiste Brothers Band, a fixture in the NOLA music scene), Batiste began playing piano at age 11. At 17, he moved to New York City to study at Juilliard, where he picked up the "harmonaboard"—a handheld keyboard-harmonica hybrid—and formed Stay Human with friends. Their shows often end with a "love riot"—the group shimmying into the audience as Batiste leads a parade of revelers like the Pied Piper. "We call what we do social music," he says. "We even recorded our first album on the subway!"
The Late Show gig presents a new challenge for Batiste: staying put. "We've toured all around the world," he says. "Now we're in one city five nights a week. But Stephen gives me a lot of creative freedom, so I'm sure love riots will be happening—and plenty of other surprises."