Jon Batiste is busy.
In addition to being the leader of Stay Human, the house band on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Batiste is the associate artistic director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, the music director of The Atlantic magazine and a regularly touring musician — he plays two solo shows at the Sinclair Wednesday.
But for Batiste, life has always been busy. Since his teenage years, work and art have filled nearly every waking hour.
“During high school, I went to two schools,” Batiste, 31, said from backstage at “The Late Show.” “For academics, I went to St. Augustine High School. After that, I went to the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday. Then I went home, ate dinner and often went out to play a gig until maybe 1 a.m. At 6 a.m., I got up and did it all over again.”
Compared to high school and college — Batiste has two degrees from Juilliard — the “Late Show” is, well, not easy. But for all the work, it is still a dream gig. Colbert has given Batiste free reign to book the guests who sit in with the band. For the piano maestro, that has meant reaching out to many of the greatest living musicians.
“We have had everyone in that slot, from Yo-Yo Ma to Stevie Wonder,” he said. “We had a whole week of jazz artists, Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, who at 92 years old was playing with the energy of an 18-year-old.”
With a huge chunk of his life now devoted to late-night TV, Batiste finds it important to keep moving his own art forward. That means recording and touring with Stay Human. It also means exploring every permutation of jazz in his solo shows. You can expect expressive, complex readings and soulful, reverent takes on classics, along with plenty of history.
“I’ve been playing music for the majority of my life, growing up in Louisiana, the birthplace of jazz, and living in New York, the real epicenter of jazz, where it developed and became this global force,” he said. “The history of jazz is with me, at the core of my musical expression, from early ragtime to avant-garde.”
Batiste will cover a lot of ground at his solo shows. But he likes to stay anchored. He won’t follow a script, but also won’t get lost in a 30-minute experimental piano detour.
“It’s like church. You follow the spirit. When you follow the spirit, magic can happen,” he said. “But there is also structure to church, a sermon, a form. There are things I always want to touch on, but I have to have some freedom.”
When you are as busy as Batiste, those moments of complete freedom can be a wonderful escape — for both the artist and his audience.
Jon Batiste, the Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge, Wednesday. The early show is sold out; the late show is $25; sinclaircambridge.com.
Source : http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/music/2018/03/late_show_band_leader_jon_batiste_lives_for_the_spirit_of_jazzThank You for Visiting My Website