Stephen Colbert, the new host of CBS’ “The Late Show,” has named New Orleans native Jon Batiste as the show’s band leader.
“His music makes the audience feel so good, we may have to install a ‘Do Not Make Love’ sign,” Colbert said Thursday in a CBS news release.
“I’m thrilled,” Batiste said in the release. “This is a match made in heaven. Get ready for a love riot in late night.”
Colbert and Batiste appear together in a 40-second video posted on the “Late Show” website.
“Hi, I’m Stephen Colbert down in New Orleans, Louisiana,” the comic says just before he’s served a towering plate of beignets. “And people keep asking me who my band leader is gonna be. Well, I like this guy,” he says as he points to Batiste.
In the “Introducing a New Friend” video, Batiste starts a lively musical number at the piano before picking up a melodica, a portable keyboard with a mouthpiece. Two band members playing tambourine and sax join him.
When the music stops, the camera turns back to Colbert, who has almost finished the beignets. “So good,” he says.
Batiste’s previous television appearances include HBO’s “Treme” and Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” the program Colbert left after CBS named him the new “The Late Show” host.
Longtime “Late Show” host David Letterman made his final appearance May 20. “The Late Show” with Colbert and Batiste premieres Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Batiste, 28, has roots in Kenner and New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood. A graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, he’s lived in New York since he moved there to attend The Juilliard School. Batiste studied jazz and classical piano at the prestigious performing arts conservatory, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Batiste is a member of one of New Orleans’ great musical families, the Batistes. He switched from drums to piano at the behest of his mother. During his teens, he won classical piano competitions and played nonclassical gigs around town. Batiste and his band, Stay Human, still feature classical music in their concerts.
Through the years, Batiste also has worked with Prince, Wynton Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Lauryn Hill, Jimmy Buffett and Lenny Kravitz.
“I do all the different types of music that I grew up with,” he told The Advocate last year. “I grew up with everything because that’s how it was for my generation.”
Batiste’s 2013 album, “Social Music,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s jazz album chart. The album ranges from the funkified jazz of “Express Yourself (Say Yes)” to the New Orleans standard “St. James Infirmary” to a dual homage to ragtime pianist Scott Joplin and New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton, “The Jazz Man Speaks (Maple Leaf Rag).”
In 2012, Batiste was appointed artistic director at large for the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He’s also a Movado Future Legend Award recipient and one of the youngest musicians to be named a Steinway performing artist.