Jon Batiste is leaving The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after 7 years

Academy Award- and Grammy-winning artist Jon Batiste is leaving The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after seven seasons, Colbert announced on Thursday night’s show. He aspires to “pursue personal and professional interests.” Louis Cato, who served as interim bandleader this summer, will take over on a permanent basis – and Colbert’s band, previously called Stay Human under Batiste’s leadership, will be renamed The Late Show Band.

Cato will take over permanently when the show returns for its eighth season on Tuesday, September 6th.

“Louis has done a great job this summer and he’s very humble so he’s not going to say that. But I will. He’s a musical genius,” said Colbert. “He can basically play any instrument there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”

Cato has been with Colbert since the relaunch of The Late Show. The revamped band will consist of Joe Saylor, who has performed alongside Louis since the show began, as well as longtime house band members Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens and Nêgah Santos.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to work on this show alongside some of the most talented musicians and creatives I know,” said Cato. “For the past seven years I have observed and learned from both Jon and Stephen and I really look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence they have established.”

Batiste won five Grammys from a whopping 11 nominations earlier this year, with big wins including album of the year. That comes after Batiste won an Oscar for Original Score in 2021 as part of the composer trio behind Disney-Pixar’s Soul.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have seen Jon’s incredible talent on the front row over the past seven years,” Colbert said of Batiste. “And will we miss him here? ‘Yes!’ But we’re happy for you Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back as a guest with your next hit.”

A Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter, Cato has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Talib Kweli, Snarky Puppy, David Sanborn, George Duke, Bobby McFerrin, Marcus Miller, John Scofield and A Tribe called search. Cato released his debut solo album, Starting Now, in 2016 and is in post-production on his latest album, Reflections, due out later this year. He is represented by manager and creative producers Sam Goldberg and Jake Levy at Levy Law PLLC.

Watch Colbert announce the bandleader change below. Jon Batiste is leaving The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after 7 years

Charles Jones

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