Stephen Colbert announced that bandleader Jon Batiste is leaving “The Late Show” after seven seasons to pursue other interests. Musician Louis Cato will step in to lead the house band.
Colbert thanked the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning Batiste on Thursday’s episode of “The Late Show.”
“We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years. 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,” Colbert said.
Cato, who has worked with artists including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, John Legend, and Talib Kweli, has served as interim bandleader this summer and will take over on a permanent basis.
“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. He can play basically every instrument over there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn,” Colbert said.
Cato, who has been with the show since its launch, will be joined by Joe Saylor 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,” Cato aid. “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.”
The eighth season of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 6.