Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste spent his 33rd birthday playing an intimate, private concert with his band in the round while Jazz Night in America captured the show.

Concord Jazz

Along with two other recommended albums — a total of six. (We’re feeling generous.)

Adam Kissick / NPR

Before he made his leap to stardom as the musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jon Batiste already showed signs that he wanted to change the world for the better.

Batiste, 32, will headline a special concert at the Newport Jazz Festival next Friday, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He has a new album releasing on the same day: Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve), which was recorded during an engagement last fall.

Jon Batiste was a highly regarded but not especially famous jazz pianist when he first recorded a tune called “Creative,” on his 2013 album Jazz is Now.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Along with saxophonist Michaël Attias and trombonist Joe Fiedler.

Adam Kissick / NPR

From the beginning, America's oldest jazz fête strove for a breadth of style. George Wein, the festival's cofounder and patriarch, used to say he wanted to present the full sweep of the music, "from J to Z." That doesn't mean Jay-Z, though a tradition of crossover inclusion goes all the way back to Chuck Berry, 60 years ago.

Courtesy of The Atlantic

"The Battle Hymn of the Republic," a quintessentially American invention, first appeared as a poem on the cover of The Atlantic Monthly, in February 1862.

Now, on a commission from the magazine, Jon Batiste — the effervescent pianist, vocalist and educator, as well as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — has radically reimagined the song.