LEWISTON – Led by a jazz pianist whose fame belies his youth, the Jonathan Batiste Band will perform Friday, May 1, in the Olin Arts Center at Bates College.
In his early 20s, Batiste is already a bright star in the New York jazz firmament. He has been invited to play with top musicians across genres, including Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Lenny Kravitz and South African players Ernie Smith and Musa Manzani.
Besides piano, Batiste plays melodica, a keyboard-controlled wind instrument, and sings. Other members of the band are bassist Phil Kuehn, drummer Joe Saylor, alto saxophonist Eddie Barbash and tenor saxophonist Matt Marantz.
Batiste was introduced to music by his family’s band, the Batiste Brothers Band, in which he started on percussion at age 8, switching to piano about four years later. He released the first of his two CDs as bandleader in 2003. “Times in New Orleans” features such Crescent City players as Jason Marsalis, Donald Harrison Jr. and Christian Scott.
In 2004, Batiste graduated from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, then studied at The Juilliard School. In 2005 he made his debuts at Carnegie Hall and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In 2008, he was a featured member of the 2008 NBA All-Star Game Halftime show, the youngest artist alongside Allen Toussaint, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis, Art Neville and Ivan Neville.
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $16, $6 for seniors and non-Bates students. For tickets, visit www.batestickets.com. For more information, call 786-6135 or visit olinarts@bates.edu.

Comments are no longer available on this story