By David Lawrence
Nashville is such an amazing city to live in if you love the arts. We have opera, ballet and of course as Music City, USA, many talented and extraordinary musicians who play our symphony hall, among other venues and performance. The weekend of October 18-20 brings two amazing and exceptional events at two of my favorite venues, one at TPAC and one at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. for one night only at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Jon Batiste, the soulful, stylish bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert makes a rare solo appearance showcasing his wide-ranging influences and his mastery at the piano. Expect a night of the unexpected, with a mix of classic jazz, original tunes, improvisations and distinctive takes on well-known songs, along with new music from his Verve Records debut, Hollywood Africans.
Nashville Ballet presents Seven Deadly Sins and Superstitions at TPAC’s Polk Theater for three (3) performances: Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, October 19, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Back by popular demand, Christopher Stuart’s exhilarating collaboration Seven Deadly Sins with Nashville singer-songwriter collective Ten Out of Tenn exposes the most sinister side of society as the protagonist confronts his demons in a performance that will haunt viewers long after the curtain falls. Challenging the viewer’s perceptions of ballet, Jennifer Archibald’s Superstitions blends the precision, technicality and athleticism of tradition with contemporary dance styles as Christina Spinei’s composition mirrors the convergence of past and present.
ABOUT JON BATISTE
Jon Batiste has recorded and performed with artists in various genres of music (Stevie Wonder, Prince, Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, and Mavis Staples), released recordings consistently since 2005 and performed in more than 40 countries. Batiste regularly tours with his band Stay Human, and appears with them nightly as Bandleader and Musical Director on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Batiste also serves as the Music Director of The Atlantic and the Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Born in Kenner, Louisiana, into a long line of musicians, including Lionel Batiste and Harold Battiste, at the age of 8, he played percussion and drums with his family’s band, the Batiste Brothers Band. At his mother’s suggestion, he switched to piano at the age of 11. Jon developed his piano skills by taking classical music lessons and transcribing songs from video games such as Street Fighter Alpha, Final Fantasy VII and Sonic the Hedgehog.
At 17, Batiste released Times in New Orleans. He attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts with Trombone Shorty and graduated in 2004 before going on to receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, he released his second album Live in New York: At the Rubin Museum of Art, and by the end of 2006, had been a featured performer in South Africa, London, Lisbon, Spain, Paris and the United States.
In 2007, Batiste made his debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam at the age of 20, both producing and performing his own show. He conducted music clinics, classes and workshops throughout Netherlands in inner city schools and underprivileged neighborhoods. He was invited back to Carnegie Hall to produce and perform in his own show including six young musicians from the Netherlands. The performance concluded with a finale he composed for choir, jazz combo and orchestral instruments. In the year following, Batiste released a number of music projects including Social Music (2013) which spent over a month at the top of the Billboard and iTunes jazz charts, “The Late Show EP” (2016) with Stay Human and a holiday album “Christmas with Jon Batiste” (2016). In 2017, he released the singles “Ohio” with Leon Bridges and Gary Clark Jr. as well as “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for The Atlantic. Batise’s debut solo album Hollywood Africans was released under Verve Records in September 2018. “Don’t Stop” served as the lead single. Leading up to the album release, Batiste completed a Summer Festival tour across the U.S. with The Dap-Kings.
With HOLLYWOOD AFRICANS, Batiste dives deep into his own personal and cultural heritage, weaving an intimate and emotional tapestry out of original material and American standards that carries the listener from the early jazz of New Orleans to the present day. Guiding the acclaimed singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and leader of the group Stay Human—since 2015 the house band of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert—was legendary producer T Bone Burnett, whose numerous accolades include Album of the Year Grammys for the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
“The goal was just to collaborate on something that felt authentic to both of us,” says Batiste. “What we came up with was an intimate, stripped-down portrait of who I am, and the lineage of musicians and performers who are really vital to my work and to his. On this record, I want us to bop, dance, laugh and cry to the sound of the music while we remember our black heroes and wield the superpowers they left us with. Because of them, I don’t have to wear a mask. I get to be who I am.”
Stay Human: In 2005, Batiste began performing regularly around the New York music scene with his Juilliard peers, bassist Phil Kuehn and drummer Joe Saylor. He later added Eddie Barbash on alto saxophone and Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba. Batiste named the band Stay Human, which draws its moniker from the belief that human interaction during a live musical performance can uplift humanity in the midst of the “plug in/tune out” nature of modern society. The band leads impromptu street performances, which Batiste calls “love riots.”
In 2011, Stay Human released the album MY N.Y., which was recorded in its entirety on New York City Subway trains, an idea that came to Batiste after questioning how to connect with people. On April 22, 2017, the band played for the March for Science rally at the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.
Television and film: In 2014, Batiste and Stay Human appeared on The Colbert Report to perform the group’s single, “Express Yourself”, written and produced with Austin Bis. On June 4, 2015, it was announced that the group would serve as house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show premiered on CBS on September 8, 2015. On the show, Batiste and Stay Human have performed alongside Billy Joel, Will Smith, Wynton Marsalis, John Legend, Grace Vanderwaal, and Nas.
Batiste was cast in the HBO television series Treme, appearing in seasons 2, 3 and 4. He was also cast as T.K. Hazelton in director Spike Lee’s film Red Hook Summer and composed and performed the Hammond B-3 organ music that was a part of the film score. Other film scores composed by Batiste include the television documentary Duke 91 & 92: Back to Back and the short film Melody of Choice. He also appears in the film Thrive by Paul Szynol.
AFTER-PARTY AT RUDY’S JAZZ ROOM
Make plans to head over to Rudy’s Jazz Room after the Jon Batiste show and take advantage of a special discounted cover (20% off the regular price) when you show your Jon Batiste ticket at the door. Rudy’s is located just off 8th Avenue South, just minutes from the Schermerhorn, at 809 Gleaves St. The featured performer for the evening will be local jazz vocalist Alayna Renae starting at 11:30 pm (Arrive as early as 10:30). Schermerhorn ticket holders can also show their ticket for a free order of beignets!
ABOUT NASHVILLE BALLET’S SEVEN DEADLY SINS AND SUPERSTITIONS
Seven Deadly Sins concept and choreography by Christopher Stuart; Music written and performed live by k.s. Rhoads and Ten Out of Tenn. Superstitions choreography by Jennifer Archibald; Music composed and performed live by Cristina Spinei. Ten Out of Tenn Artist Lineup: Butterfly Boucher, Trent Dabbs, Gabe Dixon, Katie Herzig, Jeremy Lister, Erin McCarley, k.s. Rhoads.
“With his usual wit and intelligence, [Christopher] Stuart has created an imaginary setting…that gives his choreography the freedom to flourish and to grow beyond what is expected. His dancers respond beautifully to his vision, bringing it to life with a sense of urgency.” – Jeffrey Ellis, Broadway World (2017).
Age Recommendation: Middle school and up for adult themes; with a run time of approximately 2 hours (including 1 intermission).
UPCOMING NASHVILLE BALLET EVENTS
Nashville’s Nutcracker returns to TPAC’s Jackson Hall Saturday, December 1, 2018 2:00 PM through Sunday, December 23, 2018 6:30 PM.
Get your tickets now for the ultimate evening of celebration commemorating Paul Vasterling’s 20th anniversary as Artistic Director Thursday, December 13, 2018, 6:30 p.m. Suggested Attire: Business chic or cocktail, at TPAC’s Jackson Hall.
This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.