Major reshuffle on The Late Show: Stephen Colbert announced on Thursday that Jon Batiste would be stepping down as bandleader virtually immediately, ending his tenure off-screen.
“Perceptive viewers may have noticed that Jon wasn’t here this summer. Well, I have an update: Jon has decided to leave the show,” Colbert said. “But it has the best reasons, including to continue sharing his art with the world. We wanted to give him a big, personal farewell, but Jon’s out of town. I hope he comes out with his new album and I hope it’s called More Grammys Please.
“We’ve been so lucky to have had a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years,” the presenter continued. “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.”
In exchange, Stay Human will permanently take over Louis Cato, who served as interim bandleader this summer, when The Late Show returns for Season 8 on Tuesday, September 6th – at which point Stay Human will be renamed The Late Show Band. He will be joined by Joe Saylor, who has been with the show since it started in 2015, along with longtime house band members Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens and Nêgah Santos.
“Louis did a great job this summer,” said Colbert. “And he’s very humble, so he won’t say that, but I will: he’s a musical genius. He can basically play any instrument there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”
Cato added: “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. While I have watched and learned from Jon and Stephen over the past seven years, I really look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence they have established.”
Batiste’s star has steadily risen in recent years. In 2020, he co-wrote the film score for Pixar’s Soul (along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), for which he received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award and a BAFTA Film Award. He took home four more Grammys in 2022, including Best Music Video (for “Freedom”) and Album of the Year (for “We Are”).
Will you miss Batiste on The Late Show? Sad to see him leave without a proper on-screen goodbye? Click on the comments with your reactions to the news.