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Jon Batiste opens up in JazzTimes Q&A

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Jon Batiste opens up about directing the music on a top network show, recording a solo album, writing a Broadway musical, and more. "Man, there is no other gig like this," he declares buoyantly, "It's like audio Lego. There's improvisation and incidental music, cues to accent different jokes. Then there's the audience-500 people every night, a different house. Jazz, at the root of what I do, helps me tremendously."

Batiste, 32, is doing extra labor tonight as the musical guest, performing the quietly urgent ballad "Don't Stop" from his new Verve album, Hollywood Africans. Sitting in his office, a small room crammed with instruments and jazz memorabilia, he likens the album, his debut as a solo pianist and singer, to his duty on The Late Show. "With the world being what it is, Stephen addresses things that are really tense," Batiste says of the host, alluding to his topically pointed monologues. 

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