Kenner native Jon Batiste makes his debut Tuesday as bandleader for CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
CBS announced Batiste, 28, a keyboardist and recording artist, as “The Late Show” music director in June. He replaces longtime music director Paul Shaffer.
Colbert, former host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” is replacing David Letterman, who left “The Late Show” in May following 22 years as host.
Colbert praised Batiste in a CBS news release, saying, “His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign.”
“I’m thrilled,” Batiste said in the CBS release. “This is a match made in heaven. Get ready for a love riot in late night.”
Batiste often stages the impromptu parades he calls love riots during his concerts, playing a portable keyboard with a mouthpiece.
Prior to Batiste’s high-profile new position with Colbert, he appeared on “The Colbert Report,” in the New Orleans-set HBO series “Treme” and in the Spike Lee film “Red Hook Summer.”
Members of Stay Human, the band Batiste formed in 2011, will join him on “The Late Show” stage in The Ed Sullivan Theater.
Batiste is a member of one of New Orleans’ great musical families, the Batistes. He has roots in New Orleans and Kenner.
A graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Batiste has lived in New York since he attended The Juilliard School. He studied jazz and classical piano at the performing arts conservatory, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Batiste and Stay Human have performed throughout the world. Their latest album, “Social Music,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s jazz album chart. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Lenny Kravitz, Lenny Kravitz and Prince.
An educator and a musician, Batiste is artistic director at large for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He’s a Movado Future Legend Award recipient and among the youngest musicians to be named a Steinway Performing Artist.
Batiste’s first major-label album will be released this fall.