Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from NPR
Jon Batiste has a way with exits, as musicians from New Orleans tend to. Days before his day-ending set at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival, the pianist and singer walked out of The Colbert Report‘s theater with a studio audience and a dancing Stephen Colbert in tow. And following a high-energy Newport set — where his expanded Stay Human band played turbocharged versions of standards, rags and his own party anthems — he switched from piano to melodica and led the band into the main stage audience.
Batiste’s newest album is called Social Music, and it’s easy to see how he could catalyze a gathering. As he paraded into the crowd, he switched into a number you might hear at a New Orleans jazz funeral parade, one that signaled his intent with a wink: “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”
Jon Batiste, piano/melodica/voice; Eddie Barbash, alto saxophone; Ibanda Ruhumbika, tuba; Barry Stevenson, banjo/bass; Joe Saylor, drums; Jamison Ross, keyboard/percussion/voice. With Grace Kelly, alto saxophone.