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Louis Cato Replacing Jon Batiste as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Bandleader

Cato has been with the show since it went on the air in September 2015
Louis Cato (Photo: Al Pereira / Getty Images)

Louis Cato will replace Jon Batiste as the bandleader on CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert when the show begins its eighth season on Sept. 6. Colbert announced the change on last night’s episode of the show, noting that Cato has already filled this summer for Batiste, who is departing “to pursue personal and professional interests.”

“Louis has done a great job this summer, and he is very humble, so he won’t say this. But I will. He’s a musical genius,” Colbert told the audience. “He can play basically every instrument over there. Give him an afternoon, he’ll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn.”

Batiste’s decision to leave Colbert comes after he won the best original score Oscar last year for his work on the Disney/Pixar film Soul and took home five Grammys earlier this year, including album of the year for We Are. The musician also made a surprising split from his longtime team at Mick Management this spring, SPIN can reveal.

“We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years,” Colbert said last night. “And will we miss him here? ‘Yeah!’ But we’re happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back on as guest with your next hit record.”

The house band will be renamed “The Late Show Band” from “Stay Human,” which it was called during Batiste’s tenure. A Grammy-nominated musician and producer, Cato has been with the show since it went on the air in September 2015 and will continue to perform alongside house band members Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens and Nêgah Santos.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life to work on this show, alongside some of the most talented musicians and creatives I know,” Cato said. “Watching and learning from both Jon and Stephen for these past seven years, I’m genuinely excited to continue the tradition of excellence they’ve established.”