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Jon Batiste Leaving As ‘The Late Show’ Bandleader After Seven Years; Louis Cato To Replace Him

Stephen Colbert announced on tonight’s The Late Show that Academy Award and Grammy winner Jon Batiste is departing after seven seasons to pursue personal and professional interests.

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

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Batiste has been the Late Show bandleader since Colbert took over as host in 2015. His music career has been on a roll in the last two years as he won an Oscar in 2020 for his Soul score and won five Grammys this year, including Album of the Year.

Louis Cato, who has served as interim bandleader this summer, will take over on a permanent basis with when The Late Show returns for its eighth season.

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

Related video: Jon Batiste on sweet moment shared with Billie Eilish at Grammy Awards

Cato, who has been with The Late Show since its launch, will be joined by Joe Saylor, who has performed alongside Louis since the show’s inception, and longtime house band members Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens and Nêgah Santos.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life to work on this show, alongside some of the most talented musicians and creatives I know,” Cato said. “Watching and learning from both Jon and Stephen for these past seven years, I’m genuinely excited to continue the tradition of excellence they’ve established.”

The eighth season of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Cato is a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter. He has worked with such artists 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 lending his talents to other projects, Cato released his first solo record Starting Now (2016), which he also mixed and produced entirely by himself. He is currently in post-production on his newest album Reflections, due out later this year. He is repped by manager and creative producer Sam Goldberg and Jake Levy at Levy Law PLLC.

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