John Batiste leaves Stephen Colbert’s ‘The Late Show’


John Batiste, his career booming after winning multiple Grammys, is stepping down as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run with host Stephen Colbert.

New York — John Batiste, his career on the rise after winning multiple Grammys this year, is stepping down as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run with host Stephen Colbert.

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

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

“He can play basically every instrument out there,” Colbert said. “Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on the shoehorn.”

Batiste toured globally 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 forming a house band the following year, Batiste and Stay Human were a natural fit.

The mutual respect that Colbert and Batiste shared was clear. The bandleader often hailed the comedian’s nightly monologues from the piano, appeared in sections and accompanies the musical guests. Batiste stuck with the gig even during the pandemic, with tunes, both original and cover, hitting the spot.

The multi-instrumentalist won five Grammys this year. Batiste composed, consulted, and arranged the songs for Pixar’s animated film “Soul”, a mid-life crisis film mixed with New York jazz fantasies and body-swap comedy. She won a Golden Globe for a musical with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails; And the trio also earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score. For their work on “Soul”, Batiste, Reznor and Ross won a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack f or Visual Media.


AP Media Writer David Bouder contributed to this report.


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