Colbert Taps Pianist Jon Batiste For New "Late Show"

batiste-e4b7982f43061cf6b53a2e7c47a043fe132887f6-s6-c30As Dave Itzkoff reported in yesterday’s New York Times, Stephen Colbert has named pianist Jon Batiste to be his bandleader when he begins hosting “The Late Show” for CBS on Sept. 8. 
Colbert stuffs a lot of sugary beignets into his face and packs a lot of funny into the 43-second video introducing Batiste .
Meanwhile, Batiste flashes his pianism and his affection for his other favorite instrument, the melodica. He mugs like a good sidekick but also a subversive one: he utters the word “jazz,” and features tambourine, two things well understood in New Orleans, where Batiste first came of age as a musician, but generally alien on network TV.
Batiste isn’t the first jazz musician raised in Kenner, Louisiana and trained at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts to be a late-night TV star. That would be saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who was Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show” bandleader from 1992 to 1995. Marsalis and Leno never achieved the type of on-air banter late-night TV needs (Jay just wasn’t cool enough nor was Branford willing to pander) and ultimately, Marsalis’ estimable musicianship seeemed watered down, his musical inclinations hemmed in.
That’s unlikely to happen to Batiste: Colbert’s show will probably skew more hip and open-minded. Continue reading “Colbert Taps Pianist Jon Batiste For New "Late Show"”