Jon Batiste: How 'Colbert' Visit Became 'Late Show' Job Interview - Rolling Stone
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Jon Batiste: How ‘Colbert’ Visit Became ‘Late Show’ Job Interview

Bandleader also reveals he and Stephen Colbert will have an “interactive” relationship on late-night program

Jon Batiste will begin his late-night tenure September 8th when the Late Show With Stephen Colbert premieres, and the New Orleans-born, New York-adopted jazzman recently sat down with Katie Couric and Yahoo! News to chat about his new gig. In this exclusive clip from Couric and Batiste’s conversation, the bandleader talks about the Colbert Report appearance that ended up being his job interview and what he and Stephen Colbert have planned for the show.

“We met on-screen at The Colbert Report in July. That was the first time we knew there was an energy,” Batiste said. “I felt there was a very, very fun, kind of weird but awkward in a good way… interview. He broke character a bit; very playful, and also spontaneous. And I felt an energy, and he did too. We kept speaking over time, and eventually it became a conversation about the show… the next show.”

Rehearsals for The Late Show are underway, and while Batiste admits that he and Colbert are still perfecting their “interactive” host/bandleader relationship, he’s got some more work to do before the premiere episode on September 8th. “I’ve been mostly focused on the music. Figuring out how to put the sounds of social music into the context of a TV show, and figuring out how to make that connect,” Batiste said.

Elsewhere in the Couric discussion, Batiste also talks about his favorite artists – Chopin, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Smokey Robinson – and the “incredible musicians” in his Stay Human band. The interview concludes with Batiste and his merry band of revelers hitting the streets of New York to deliver some impromptu performances, including a surprise rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” as played by Couric on Batiste’s melodica.


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