Stephen Colbert has named Louisiana jazz musician Jon Batiste as his Late Show bandleader with a fittingly absurd video announcement. “People keep asking who my bandleader’s gonna be,” Colbert says, sitting down to a massive pile of New Orleans desert beignets, “Well, I like this guy.” The camera pans over to the 28-year-old Batiste, who demonstrates his versatility by singing, playing some soulful piano and tossing off a wild melodica solo. “So good!” enthuses a powdered sugar-coated Colbert, when the camera cuts back 20 seconds later, revealing an empty plate.
Batiste, a graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School who performed multiple times on The Colbert Report, will be joined on The Late Show by his band, Stay Human. The multi-instrumentalist started his career in hometown New Orleans, where he turned heads playing music on the streets with his trademark “love riots.”
He’s released several studio and live albums, including 2013’s Social Music (which reached Number One on Billboard’s jazz chart) and last year’s The Process, a collaboration with acclaimed bassist Bill Laswell and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. His first LP on a major label will be released this fall.
Batiste also appeared as himself in two seasons of the HBO drama series Treme and offered a supporting role in Spike Lee’s 2012 film, Red Hook Summer. That same year, the musician was named Artistic Director at Large for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert premieres Tuesday, September 8th on CBS. “I’m thrilled!” Batiste said in a statement announcing his new gig. “This is a match made in heaven. Get ready for a love riot in late night.”
“His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign,” cracked Colbert. The host has been gearing up for his new late-night venture: Earlier this week, he shaved his “Colbeard” in a hilarious promo video and unveiled the show’s logo, Facebook account, Twitter account, YouTube page, official website, an app (Colbr) and a podcast.