Primary Instrument: Piano
~Pianist Jonathan Batiste is a member of a long lineage of musicians from the Batiste family of Louisiana. He was introduced to music by his family's band, the Batiste Brothers Band, in which he played percussion/drums at age 8. He switched to piano around the age of 12.
By the age of 17, he released the first of his two CDs as a leader entitled Times In New Orleans featuring New Orleans musicians Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Jr., and Christian Scott. By then he was already attracting considerable attention as a young musician of great talent and potential. In 2004 he graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) as a prime young performer. He then went on to study at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York.
In 2005 Batiste made his debut at Carnegie Hall and began performing regularly around the New York music scene with his trio, including bassist Phil Kuehn and drummer Joe Saylor. Soon he added tenor saxophone virtuoso, Matt Marantz, and 15 year old child prodigy, Eddie Barbash on alto saxophone. Batiste has toured extensively with this quintet in recent years.
In 2006 he received the Movado Future Legend Award, being the only one to receive the honor for jazz. Prior to the honor, Jonathan had already released his second CD Live In New York: At The Rubin Museum Of Art. Closing out 2006, Batiste had already been a featured performer in South Africa, London, Lisbon, Spain, Paris, and the U.S.
In 2007 he made his debut at the world renowned Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), producing and performing his own show. In addition to the show, he also conducted music clinics/master classes and workshops throughout all of Holland in inner city schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. As a result, he was invited back to Carnegie Hall to produce and perform in his own show. The performance included six young musicians from the Netherlands in which Batiste composed music featured in the program. The performance concluded with an epic finale he composed for choir, jazz combo, and orchestral instruments. It was viewed as a hugely successful cultural exchange and garnered national attention. Also in 2007, Batiste began an ongoing collaboration with vocalist Cassandra Wilson.
Starting off 2008, Batiste was a featured member of the 2008 NBA All-Star Game halftime show. Batiste was the youngest artist alongside Allen Toussaint, Harry Connick, Jr., Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Art Neville, Ivan Neville, and Davell Crawford.
By 2009, Batiste had released 2 CD's and 2 EP's of his own, and performed in over 40 countries. He has chosen the melodica as a current focus. Adopting it as one of his signatures, he has already helped to further popularize the instrument. He has named the instrument the Harmonabord.
Batiste is also known most by the name Jon Batiste, which is the name he assumes when performing worldwide with The Jon Batiste Band.
As of today, Batiste's popularity is growing rapidly and his work is becoming more widely known to an impressive variety of music genres. Batiste works on many artistic endeavors in addition to live performance which include collaborative projects with actors/actresses, dancers, artists and contemporary music artists of his generation. These projects are all independently produced. He is also an active educator.
He has recorded and/or performed with various artist including Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Connick Jr., Cassandra Wilson, Derek Trucks, Jimmy Buffett, Abbey Lincoln, Roy Hargrove and more.
2009 and 2010 has found Jonathan touring extensivlyy with The Roy Hargrove Quintet and The Roy Hargrove Big Band throughout the US, Europe, and Japan.
Source: Kandie Le Britain Webster, Contributing Editor