Jon Batiste is on a roll. The phenomenally talented, multi-instrumentalist and future CBS Late Night bandleader will have a huge presence in Newport this summer with four Newport Festivals Foundation concerts in a week. Along the way, he and his band, Stay Human, will make history.
On Sunday, July 26, Batiste and Stay Human (alto saxophonist Eddie Barbash and percussionist Joe Saylor) will grace the Fort Stage at the Newport Folk Festival® at Fort Adams. Come Friday evening, July 31, they’ll open the Newport Jazz Festival® concert at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. On Saturday, Batiste and Stay Human head back to Fort Adams for a historic Jazz Festival moment. There, they will become the first group to play at the Fort for both Jazz and Folk Festivals in the same year. (In 2012, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band played the Fort at the Folk Festival and at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino for Jazz.)
You can also catch Batiste and Stay Human at the intimate Newport Festivals Foundation fourth Annual Gala Saturday night, August 1, at the Breakers. Batiste has been a Festival staple since his first appearance in 2012.
“Jon Batiste is part of our Festival family. His crossover appeal is limitless,” says Festival founder George Wein. “His energy onstage is infectious. It doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 80-years-old, you can’t help but enjoy the energy and expertise in his music. And when he enters into the crowd to meet his fans, he calls it a “love riot,” you can see how the experience changes them. As far as I’m concerned he can play anywhere.”
Making history in Newport is just one more accomplishment in a series of larger than life moves for the 28-year-old New Orleans-bred, New York-based Juilliard graduate (MA) with a flair for fashion and the ability to make jazz music accessible to all ages.
In June, he and the band finished a seven-night sold out run in New York City. Earlier that month CBS named Batiste as the bandleader for the highly anticipated Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over for David Letterman on September 8. Batiste has already proven himself as an actor in the New Orleans based HBO series Treme as well as in Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer. The piano, bass and melodica-playing Batiste has also released half a dozen CDs and EPs starting when was just 17 years old.
As a musician, Batiste has toured the world performing in more than 40 countries, but he is also a music educator. As the Artistic Director at Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, he programs educational workshops. In Newport last year, he hosted two workshops for local elementary and high school students and he’s an Ambassador for Music Unites.
Jon Batiste Newport performances:
Sunday, July 26, 12:40 pm – Newport Folk Festival, Fort Adams/Fort Stage
Friday, July 31, 8:00 pm – Newport Jazz Festival, International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino
Saturday, August 1, 2:25 pm – Newport Jazz Festival, Fort Adams/Fort Stage
Saturday, August 1, 7:30 pm – Newport Festivals Foundation Gala, The Breakers
*Times Subject to Change
The Newport Folk Festival, which takes place at Fort Adams State Park July 24 – 26, also features Roger Waters, The Lone Bellow, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, Hozier, J Mascis, Field Report, First Aid Kit, Leon Bridges, Sturgill Simpson, Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear, The Felice Brothers, Courtney Barnett, Jason Isbell, Calexico, New Breed Brass Band, Jones Family Singers, Haunt the House and ’65 Revisited, a special tribute in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan going electric at the festival.
The 2015 edition of America’s first annual jazz festival will also feature Chris Botti, Cassandra Wilson, Jamie Cullum, Snarky Puppy, Maria Schneider, Arturo Sandoval, Dr. John, Jack DeJohnette: Made in Chicago, Kenny Garrett, Billy Childs, Arturo O’Farrill, Fred Hersch, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Kneebody, Hiromi, Michel Camilo, Jon Faddis, James Carter, Christian McBride, Bill Frisell, Mike Stern/Bill Evans Band, Ambrose Akinmusire, Tom Harrell, Pat Martino, Matana Roberts, John Hollenbeck, Ms. Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton and many others.
The Newport Festivals Foundation was founded by George Wein in 2010 to build and continue the legacies of the famed Newport Jazz Festival® and Newport Folk Festival®. Under the auspices of the Foundation, the Newport Jazz Festival presents performers who respect and honor jazz music traditions, and at the same time reflect the changes in today’s musical trends. Through the establishment of partnerships with local high schools and colleges/universities, the Foundation will present programs to educate young people about jazz music as presented at the annual festivals. For more information, please visit www.newportfestivalsfoundation.org .