Meet Our Guests

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste Photo Credit: Abby Ross

Jon Batiste is featured in:

Season 6, Episode 3: Homecomings

Born into a long lineage of Louisiana musicians, Jon Batiste is a globally celebrated musician, educator, bandleader and television personality whose musical skill, artistic vision and exuberant charisma have garnered him the well-deserved title of “crowned prince of jazz.” Jon is recognized for his originality, jaw-dropping talent and dapper sense of style. Jon effortlessly transitions from commanding the piano with virtuosic skill to soulfully crooning to wailing on the “harmonaboard” (a hybrid of a harmonica and keyboard) to curating unique “social music” experiences all over the world, whether solo or with his band Stay Human.

Jon is a musical genius who delicately balances a demanding schedule on screen and on stage, which includes his role as Bandleader and Musical Director with The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to recently honoring Philip Glass with a performance of “Opening” from “Glassworks” at the 41st Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Jon recorded and released his first solo album, Hollywood Africans in 2018 on Verve and received critical acclaim from his peers and press including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard. Executive Produced by T Bone Burnett, Hollywood Africans also gave Jon his first GRAMMY nomination in the Best American Roots Performance category for Saint James Infirmary Blues.

Ironically, with his album Hollywood Africans inspired by the famous 1983 painting, it’s befitting that Jon has been tapped to compose the lyrics and music for a new edgy Broadway-bound musical, based on the life and art of one of the most influential artists of the late 20th century, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Strongly committed to the arts, philanthropy, education and mentoring of young musicians, Jon is currently the Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and Musical Director for The Atlantic. His accolades also can’t go unnoticed - he’s been awarded the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award, the Harry Chapin ASCAP Humanitarian Award and made the coveted Forbes “30 under 30” list.

Jon has received both his undergraduate and master's degrees in piano from the Juilliard School. Jon currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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Guests From Episode 3 of Season 6

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Episode Guide

Finding Your Roots Season Six

Discover the surprising ancestral stories of 27 fascinating guests, including Jeffrey Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Melissa McCarthy, Sterling K. Brown, Jordan Peele, Nancy Pelosi, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell, Queen Latifah, Jon Batiste, Diane von Furstenberg, Zac Posen, Jeff Goldblum, Anjelica Huston, Isabella Rossellini, Terry Gross, Eric Stonestreet and more in season six of Finding Your Roots.

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WETA | Finding Your Roots
with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

New Episodes: Tuesdays at 8/7c