Jon Batiste's big win at the Grammys is one more step in a boundless musical path
Jon Batiste had the most stunning victory of the night at last night’s Grammy Awards, winning the top prize, for Album of the Year.
Batiste, the New Orleans-born pianist and singer, won a total of five Grammys on Sunday. His Album of the Year win, for WE ARE, counted as an upset in a loaded category filled with competition from Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and the combined talents of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. After Batiste's win, this multi-genre performer honored the artists he beat, and added a philosophical grace note.
The creative arts are subjective, and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It’s like a song or an album is made, and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most. I just put my head down and work on the craft every day. It’s more than entertainment to me, it’s a spiritual practice.
Batiste was profiled in a 2020 episode of Jazz Night in America. You probably know him as bandleader and musical director on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — but his credentials are deep. He's also the co-artistic director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and has been a collaborator with everyone from pop singer Tori Kelly to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He's graduate of both the New Orleans Center of the Creative Arts and the Juilliard School, and an alumni of both Wynton Marsalis and Roy Hargrove's bands. (He was on piano when Hargrove brought his big band into WBGO's performance studio in 2009, for a live broadcast on Afternoon Jazz.)
Read more of our Grammys coverage at wbgo.org.