Jon Batiste

Jonathan Michael Batiste (born November 11, 1986)[2] is an American musician, bandleader, and television personality.[3] He has recorded and performed with artists in various genres of music (Stevie Wonder, Prince, Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, and Mavis Staples), released his own recordings, and performed in more than 40 countries. Batiste regularly tours with his band Stay Human,[4] and appears with them nightly as bandleader and musical director on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[5] Batiste also serves as the Music Director of The Atlantic and the Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Jon Batiste
Batiste in 2018
Batiste in 2018
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Michael Batiste[1]
Born (1986-11-11) November 11, 1986 (age 33)
Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.[1]
GenresJazz, R&B
Years active1998–present
Associated actsStay Human Edit this at Wikidata

Early life and educationEdit

Jon Batiste was born in Metairie, Louisiana, into a long line of musicians, including Lionel Batiste and Harold Battiste.[6] At the age of 8, he played percussion and drums with his family's band, the Batiste Brothers Band. At the age of 11, he switched to piano at his mother's suggestion. Batiste developed his piano skills by taking classical music lessons and transcribing songs from video games such as Street Fighter Alpha, Final Fantasy VII and Sonic the Hedgehog.[7]

At 17, Batiste released Times in New Orleans. He attended St. Augustine High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts with Trombone Shorty in New Orleans and graduated in 2004. He then went on to attend the Juilliard School, from where he received a Bachelor of Music in 2011 and a Master of Music in 2013.[8] While at Juilliard, he released his second album, Live in New York: At the Rubin Museum of Art. By the end of 2006, Batiste had been a featured performer in South Africa, London, Lisbon, Spain, Paris and the United States.[9]


Jonathan Batiste plays at the 2014 Monterey Jazz Festival.

In 2007, Batiste made his debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam at the age of 20, producing and performing his own show. He conducted music clinics, classes and workshops throughout the Netherlands in inner-city schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. He was invited to Carnegie Hall to produce and perform in his own show with six young musicians from the Netherlands. The performance concluded with a finale he composed for choir, jazz combo and orchestral instruments. In the following years, Batiste released a number of music projects including Social Music (2013), which spent over a month at the top of the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts; The Late Show EP (2016) with Stay Human; and a holiday album Christmas with Jon Batiste (2016). In 2017, he released the singles "Ohio" with Leon Bridges and Gary Clark Jr. as well as "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for The Atlantic. Batiste's cover of "St. James Infirmary Blues" was nominated for a Grammy in 2019, in the category of Best American Roots Performance. Batiste's debut solo album Hollywood Africans was released by Verve Records in September 2018. "Don't Stop" served as the lead single. Leading up to the album release, he completed a Summer Festival tour across the U.S. with The Dap-Kings.

Batiste's notable career performances include a tribute to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino during the 60th annual Grammy Awards (performing alongside Gary Clark Jr.); the Kennedy Center Honors' tribute to Carmen De Lavallade; the Concert for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama; the National Anthem at the 2017 NBA All Star Game; and Opening Night of the 2017 US Open. He has curated the Global Citizen Advocacy Concert with Tom Morello and the Louis Armstrong Wonderful World Festival in Queens, N.Y.

Batiste was cast in the HBO television series Treme, appearing in seasons 2, 3 and 4. He was also cast as T.K. Hazelton in director Spike Lee's film Red Hook Summer and composed and performed the Hammond B-3 organ music that was a part of the film score. Other film scores composed by Batiste include the television documentary Duke 91 & 92: Back to Back and the short film Melody of Choice. He also appears in the film Thrive by Paul Szynol.

Stay HumanEdit

Jon Batiste and Stay Human perform at the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival.

In 2005, Batiste began performing regularly in New York with his Juilliard peers, bassist Phil Kuehn and drummer Joe Saylor. He later added Eddie Barbash on alto saxophone and Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba.[10] Batiste named the band Stay Human, which draws its moniker from the belief that human interaction during a live musical performance can uplift humanity in the midst of the "plug in/tune out" nature of modern society. The band leads impromptu street performances, which Batiste calls "love riots".[11]

In 2011, Stay Human released the album MY N.Y., which was recorded in its entirety on New York City Subway trains, an idea that came to Batiste after questioning how to connect with people.[12]

On April 22, 2017, the band played for the March for Science rally at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.[13][14]

In 2014, Batiste and Stay Human appeared on The Colbert Report to perform the group's single "Express Yourself", written and produced with Austin Bis. On June 4, 2015, it was announced that the group would serve as house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show premiered on CBS on September 8, 2015.[5] On the show, Batiste and Stay Human have performed alongside Billy Joel, Will Smith, Wynton Marsalis, John Legend, Grace VanderWaal, and Nas.

Juneteenth celebrationEdit

Jon Batiste performs at Juneteenth.
Jon Batiste performs at Black Lives Matter rally at Barclays Center in 2020.

In June 2020, Batiste took part in the Juneteenth celebration in Brooklyn, New York with a day of protests, marches, rallies, and vigils to "celebrate, show solidarity, and fight for equal rights and treatment of Black people".[15] Performing on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library, Batiste was joined by Matt Whitaker in a performance presented in partnership with Sing For Hope.[15]

The 2020 Juneteenth coincided with the death of George Floyd and the Coronavirus pandemic, seen by some as connected to an increase in an awareness of racial injustice.[16] When questioned as to the differences he sees in the present movement for change, and its connection to music Batiste responded saying, " has always been something that has had all of the different purposes of our life and our community and our healing and our unspoken pain — and the transmission of messages and the raising awareness of a condition of a people. [...] What's different now is that it's much more widespread in the support of changing the systemic oppression that's been going on for 400 years." He believes, "Now, it's more important than ever for us to be reintroduced to what our ancestors used music for, because it's been forgotten. [...] The world at large sees music as entertainment. It's never been that, at its root. It is that in one element of it, but the entire spectrum of music is far, far deeper and wide-ranging."[17]

Awards and honorsEdit

Batiste was included in the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 music list[18] and was named Grand Marshal of Endymion Parade in New Orleans in 2018. He has been awarded the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award, the Harry Chapin ASCAP Humanitarian Award and the Movado Future Legend Award. In May 2017, Batiste received an honorary degree from Salve Regina University for his musical achievements and contributions to Newport's 2014 International Jazz Day.[19] He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best American Roots Performance for "Saint James Infirmary Blues".


Title Year Peak chart positions
Times in New Orleans 2005
Live in New York: At the Rubin Museum of Art 2006
In the Night 2008
The Amazing Jon Batiste! 2009
MY N.Y. EP (with Stay Human) 2011
Social Music (with Stay Human) 2013 134
The Process (with Chad Smith and Bill Laswell) 2014
The Late Show EP (with Stay Human) 2016 18
Christmas with Jon Batiste 2016 198
Music of Johny Lewis (with Wynton Marsalis) 2017 3
Hollywood Africans 2018
Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard 2019
Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard 2019


  1. ^ Hollywood Africans reached number 33 on Billboard's United States Top Current Albums chart, not the regular Billboard 200 that also includes catalog albums in addition to current records.[28]


  1. ^ a b Stated on Finding Your Roots, January 7, 2020
  2. ^ Rose, Lacey; O'Connell, Michael; Sandberg, Bryn Elise; Stanhope, Kate; Goldberg, Lesley (August 28, 2015). "Next Gen Fall TV: 10 Stars Poised for Breakouts". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "Stephen Colbert's New Bandleader Could Change Late Night TV" by Amanda Wicks, The New York Observer, July 24, 2015
  4. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 17, 2012). "National Jazz Museum in Harlem Plans Expansion". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Serico, Chris (June 4, 2015). "'I like this guy': Stephen Colbert chooses Jon Batiste as 'Late Show' bandleader". Today. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  6. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri (November 11, 2013). "Jon Batiste". Interview Magazine.
  7. ^ Weingarten, Christopher (August 5, 2015). "Meet Jon Batiste, Colbert's Crowd-Thrilling Bandleader". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ Hadley, Fredara Mareva (July 16, 2020). "Embodying Baldwin's Words at The Juilliard School". Juilliard School.
  9. ^ "Award-Winning Jazz Artist Batiste Performs at SU Monday, September 24". Salisbury University. September 12, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  10. ^ Hodges, Bruce (November 2014). "3 Releases From Jazz Grads". The Juilliard Journal. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "#LoveRiot: A Classic "Had To Be There" NYC Moment". April 11, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  12. ^ Blumenfeld, Larry (January 4, 2012). "Jonathan Batiste and the Stay Human Band Fill the Subway with Their Take on Jazz".
  13. ^ Resnick, Brian (April 22, 2017). "The March for Science on Earth Day, explained". Vox. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  14. ^ Whyte, Chelsea; Grossman, Lisa (April 22, 2017). "On the ground in Washington at the March for Science". New Scientist. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Juneteenth in Brooklyn". Bklyner. June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Why George Floyd's death, COVID-19 inequality sparked protests: 'We're witnessing history'". lohud. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Fancher, Lou. "For Jon Batiste, Music Is the Way to Transformation". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  18. ^ "Jon Batiste, 29". Forbes. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "George Wein, Jon Batiste to Receive Honorary Degrees from Salve Regina; Batiste to Give Commencement Address". What'sUpNewp. April 12, 2017. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  20. ^ "Jon Batiste Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard). Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "Jon Batiste Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d "Jon Batiste Chart History (Jazz Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  23. ^ "Top 200 Albums". Billboard. January 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. January 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Holiday Albums". Billboard. January 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Independent Albums". Billboard. January 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  27. ^ "Jazz Music: Top Jazz Albums". Billboard. January 7, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Top Current Albums". November 3, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2018.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit