Jon Batiste quits Stephen Colbert’s ‘The Late Show’


“I can’t wait to see you again as a guest with your next hit album.”

Jon Batiste performs during the Grammy Museum’s ‘A New York Evening with Jon Batiste’ at the Library for Performing Arts at Lincoln Center on June 17, 2022 in New York City. John Lamparski/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Batiste, his career booming after winning multiple Grammys this year, is stepping down as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run in support of host Stephen Colbert .

“We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat for Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years,” Colbert said on Thursday’s show. “But we’re happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to see you back as a guest with your next hit album.”

Louis Cato, who served as interim conductor this summer, will take over permanently when the show returns for its eighth season. He has been a part of the show since its launch. Cato has worked with Beyonce, Mariah Carey and John Legend and is working on a new album. Colbert called him a musical genius.

“He can play pretty much every instrument there,” Colbert said. “Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”

Batiste has toured the world with his band Stay Human and made a memorable stop on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” in 2014. When the producers of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” were considering having a house band l he following year, Batiste and Stay Human were a natural choice.

The mutual respect that Colbert and Batiste shared was evident. The conductor often applauded the comedian’s night monologue on the piano, appeared in segments and accompanied musical guests. Batiste has stuck with the gig even during the pandemic, delivering tunes, both originals and covers, on location.

The multi-instrumentalist has won five Grammys this year. Batiste composed music, consulted, and arranged songs for Pixar’s animated “Soul,” a midlife crisis film mixed with New York jazz fantasia and body-swapping comedy. He won a Golden Globe for Music alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails; and the trio also won the Oscar for Best Original Score. For their work on “Soul,” Batiste, Reznor and Ross won the Grammy for Best Soundtrack for Visual Media.


AP Media Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

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