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Jon Batiste on his new album; 'We Are' / NPR - Weekend Edition Sunday

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WE ARE represents a completely new sonic chapter for Jon Batiste. Inviting some of the most esteemed creative minds to assist in birthing the album, he reached the finish line smack in the middle of the first wave of the worldwide pandemic and volatile social unrest. The result is a body of work characterized by the consciousness of Marvin Gaye, the grounded optimism of Stevie Wonder, the iconoclasm of Thelonious Monk and the swagger of Mannie Fresh.

Alongside songwriter Autumn Rowe and producer Kizzo, Batiste wrote and planned much of the project in about a week from his dressing room at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he's the musical director and bandleader. WE ARE was recorded in New York, Los Angeles and in his native New Orleans, melding inspiration from his new home and new collaborators with that of the Batiste musical dynasty. The album was also recorded in between sessions for Disney/Pixar's 2020 hit film Soul­, which saw Batiste's music - and hands - incorporated into the animation about a teacher who dreams of being a jazz pianist.

NPR - Weekend Edition Sunday's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Jon Batiste. The prolific artist, who has composed music for Disney and whose band plays for Stephen Colbert, is releasing a solo album.   LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT