Gary Clark Jr. and Jon Batiste united to salute late rock pioneers Chuck Berry and Fats Domino with a fiery tribute at the 2018 Grammy Awards. The blues-rock artist and Late Show bandleader formed a trio with drummer Joe Saylor, Batiste’s Stay Human bandmate, honoring “two of the fathers of rock and roll that we lost last year.”
Batiste opened fronting a impassioned version of Domino’s 1955 hit “Ain’t That a Shame.” As images of the late rocker flashed behind the group, the pianist performed a flashy jazz piano solo. Clark Jr. led the band on a fervent version of Berry’s 1955 classic “Maybelline,” including a guitar solo full of wild bent notes.
Clark Jr. is an established Grammy veteran both as a performer and nominee. His track “Ain’t Messing ‘Round” was nominated for Best Rock Song in 2013, and the following year, he won Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Please Come Home.” The guitarist accompanied Keith Urban onstage at the 2014 ceremony during the singer’s version of “Cop Car.” Two years later, he paid tribute to B.B. King alongside Chris Stapleton and Bonnie Raitt, and he joined soul singer William Bell in 2017 to play Albert King blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.”
Though he hasn’t released an album since 2015’s The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, Clark Jr. has kept busy as a studio sideman over the last two years, recording guitar parts for Anthony Hamilton, Childish Gambino and the soundtrack to Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis film Miles Ahead. Clark Jr. also contributed an original tune to the Deepwater Horizon soundtrack and a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” for the Justice League movie.