Academy- and Grammy Award-winning artist Jon Batiste is leaving “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” after seven seasons, Colbert announced Thursday night on the show. He’s exiting to “pursue personal and professional interests.” Louis Cato, who has served as interim bandleader this summer, will take over on a permanent basis — and Colbert’s band, which previously had been called “Stay Human” under Batiste’s direction, will be renamed “The Late Show Band.”
Cato will take over permanently when the show returns for its eighth season on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
“Louis has done a great job this summer, and he is very humble, so he won’t say this. But I will. He’s a musical genius,” Colbert said. “He can play basically every instrument over there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”
Cato has been with “The Late Show” since its relaunch under Colbert. The revised band will be include 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,” said Cato. “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.”
Batiste won five Grammys earlier this year, out of a whopping 11 nominations, with big wins including album of the year. That came after Batiste won an Oscar in 2021 for original score as part of the trio of composers behind Disney-Pixar’s “Soul.”
“We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years,” Colbert said of Batiste. “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.”
Cato, a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter, has worked with artists including Beyonce, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Talib Kweli, Snarky Puppy, David Sanborn, George Duke, Bobby McFerrin, Marcus Miller, John Scofield and A Tribe Called Quest. Cato released his first solo record, “Starting Now,” in 2016, and he is 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.