Jon Batiste is a globally celebrated musician, educator, bandleader and television personality whose musical skill, artistic vision and exuberant charisma make him a triple threat with unlimited potential. Recognized for his originality, jaw-dropping talent and dapper sense of style, Jon transitions from commanding the piano with virtuosic skill to soulfully crooning to wailing on the “harmonaboard” (a kind of harmonica and keyboard) to curating unique "social music" experiences all over the world. Born into a long lineage of Louisiana musicians, Batiste eventually went on to receive both his undergraduate and masters degrees in piano from the Juilliard School and formed his band, Stay Human.
The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule—which often includes his signature, impromptu ‘love riot’ street parades—with his role as bandleader with the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs. He played himself on the HBO series Treme and most recently appeared in director Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer.
The New York City-based musician has released several self-produced independent albums, including "MY N.Y." which was recorded entirely on the street corners and subways of NYC and "Jazz is Now" featuring his singular approach to jazz standards and jazz composition in the classic piano trio format. Jon's only label partnership to date occurred when he partnered with Razor & Tie, the small Greenwich village based record label, for his 2013 release entitled "Social Music" which went on to spend over a month atop the both Billboard Jazz charts and iTunes Jazz charts as the #1 jazz album in the world. Most recently, he released a new album with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis entitled “The Music of John Lewis." It features material written by John Lewis, best known as the pianist and musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Jon is also a coveted artist brand ambassador-- currently featured in ad campaigns for Chase Bank, the Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental and numerous fashion brands including Polo Ralph Lauren Black Label, Frye, Kate Spade, Jack Spade Barneys, Nordstrom and H&M. He has worked with, among others, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibowitz and his personal style has been profiled in numerous fashion publications including GQ, Vanity Fair, CR Fashion Book, Esquire, Interview, and Vogue.
He is strongly committed to the education and mentoring of young musicians. He has led his own Social Music Residency and Mentoring Program sponsored by Chase, as well as hundreds of master classes throughout the world. He has also led several cultural exchanges beginning in 2006 when he led a cultural exchange program with the Netherlands Trust bringing students from the USA and Holland to perform with him at both The Royal Concert Gebouw and Carnegie Hall.
For all of his work, both as a pianist and as a humanitarian, Jon has received numerous awards, such as the inaugural Benny Golson Award from the city of Philadelphia and the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of the Gordon Parks Award and received an honorary degree from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island this last May.