Stephen Colbert announced on the Late Show tonight that Oscar and Grammy winner Jon Batiste is leaving after seven seasons to pursue personal and professional interests.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have had a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent over the last seven years. 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,” said Colbert.
Batiste has been the bandleader of The Late Show since Colbert took over as host in 2014. His music career has been in full swing for the past two years as he won an Oscar for his soul score in 2020 and won five Grammys this year including Album of the Year.
Louis Cato, who served as interim bandleader this summer, will take over permanently when The Late Show returns for its eighth season.
“Louis did a great job this summer, and he’s very humble, so he’s not going to say that,” Colbert said. “But I will. He’s a musical genius. He can play basically any instrument there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”
Cato, who has been with The Late Show since its inception, will be joined by 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.”
The eighth season of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert premieres Tuesday, September 6th.
Cato is a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter. He has collaborated with artists such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Talib Kweli, Snarky Puppy, David Sanborn, George Duke, Bobby McFerrin, Marcus Miller, John Scofield and A Tribe Called Quest. After two decades of channeling his talent to other projects, Cato released his debut solo album, Starting Now (2016), which he also mixed and produced entirely himself. He is currently 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.