Jonathan Batiste at Harlem in the Himalayas

January 3, 2008
Pianist, composer, and bandleader Jonathan Batiste will be performing with his trio as part of the Harlem in the Himalayas series at the Rubin Museum in New York City on January 18th, 2008.

The Jonathan Batiste Trio:
Jonathan Batiste, piano
Phillip Kuehn, bass
Joe Saylor, drums

Jonathan Batiste Bio:

Jonathan Batiste was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1986. He was first introduced to music through his family’s band, the Batiste Brothers Band, in which he played the percussions at the age of 8, switching to the piano at age 11. At a young age of nine Jonathan was featured singing on his first major commercial in Japan. These were his first experiences as a performer. Jonathan shows promise as a multi-instrumentalist and is versatile in performing on piano, saxophone, and bass guitar. He began to study jazz and classical music, preparing him to be a well rounded and focused musician.

By the age of 16 years old, Jonathan could be seen, performing with some of New Orleans’ most outstanding and respected musicians including the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, Nicholas Payton, Alvin Batiste, Cyril Neville, Donald Harrison, George Porter Jr. (of the Meters), Russell Batiste (of the Funky Meters), Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews at venues such as New Orleans’ Snug Harbor, Tipitinas, Funky Butt as well as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where he debuted his band in 2005. He has recorded with Harry Connick Jr., Alvin Batiste, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra with Irvin Mayfield, Russell Batiste (drummer for the “Funky Meters”), Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and others. By the age of 17, he released his first CD as a leader entitled “Times In New Orleans” which features the talents of some of New Orleans finest musicians including Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, Maurice Brown amongst others. Also that year, Jonathan was selected through a nationwide search to be a member of the 2004 Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School Jazz Ensembles in which he performed, in trio format, at the Grammy week of events as well as the Grammy pre-telecast and post celebration in Los Angeles. There he performed with many artists such as Kurt Elling, Eric Marienthal. By the end of that year he had been invited to play with various other musicians such as Abbey Lincoln, Curtis Fuller, David “Fathead” Newman (saxophonist for Ray Charles), Maraca, Louis Hayes, Goapele, as well as some of South Africa’s musicians such as Ernie Smith, Prince Kupi, Musa Manzani.

His skills range from gifted performer and recording artist to composer and arranger as well. Before graduating high school, Jonathan had garnered experience composing and arranging music for film, writing the score for the Arts Council of New Orleans. His score will be played every day and all day as background music at the Louisiana Arts Work Museum in New Orleans. Batiste had already had a rich experience as an artist before he had turned 18. The year of 2004, Jonathan graduated from St. Augustine High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) under the tutelage of Alvin Batiste, Michael Pellera, and others. NOCCA is a high- level fine arts conservatory that has produced alumni such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Terrence Blanchard and many more. Jonathan received a letter from the State of Louisiana Governor Office acknowledgment of outstanding NOCCA student. Jonathan was selected to the National Beta Club at St. Augustine High School, which is the academic high school he attended.

Still 17 years of age, Jonathan auditioned at The Juilliard School for the 2004-2005 school year and was accepted. He is presently studying Jazz Piano at The Juilliard School of music in New York. In 2005 he made his debut at Carnegie Hall at 18 years old. Since his arrival to New York he has been performing regularly around the city with his trio. The members of this group are very special to me. “We are like musical brothers.” says Batiste. His trio is the basis for most of his musical endeavors, whether they are performing, speaking to audiences about the music, to educating younger musicians and exposing people to this essential part of American culture. His most recent release entitled “Live In New York: At The Rubin Museum Of Art” features the talents of his trio (Phillip Kuehn and Joe Saylor), as well as his skills as a pianist and composer in a live acoustic setting. The CD speaks volumes, steadily attracting the attention of many acclaimed artist and music lovers across the globe.

Now 19, he can be seen at the New York City venue The Garage every month with his trio. When not performing he is active with his other projects including educational events, cultural exchange programs, and speaking to various audiences as a young representative for the music. He recently was awarded the “Movado Future Legend” award in jazz and has been playing around the world with his trio from Portugal to New York. With a clear and refined focus, and tons of musical experience, he is ready to take the music to new levels of sophistication and creativity. Jonathan Batiste is one of the next ambassadors of the culture of jazz music in America. Developing his own unique voice, the statement that he will make will be one that is distinctly his own. His statement in one that stresses the importance of humanity, sophistication, intelligence, and soul within both the music and the culture. Aiming to become an influential voice of the people through music in society, Jonathan is continually growing and changing into what will become a very powerful voice, not only in music but in society.


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