Jon Batiste and Stay Human: Social Music
Like the Nevilles and the Marsalises, the Batistes are musical royals in New Orleans, but the young pianist/vocalist Jon Batiste has lived in New York City long enough now that his music has absorbed plenty of that cityâ€™s electric juice and melting-pot multiculturalism. Batiste, alto saxophonist Eddie Barbash, tuba man Ibanda Ruhumbika and drummer Joe Saylor are specialists in non-specializingâ€”they glide and slide easily from genre to genre, tempo to tempo, mood to mood. Influences meld, assimilate and dissolve. Their â€śSt. James Infirmaryâ€ť treats the warhorse as a spaced-out soul vamp; itâ€™s followed by a take
on pianist John Hicksâ€™ â€śNaimaâ€™s Love Song,â€ť built on Batisteâ€™s chirpy melodica. Among the originals, itâ€™s party-time funky in â€śExpress Yourself (Say Yes)â€ť and meditatively joyous in â€śThe Spirit Is with Us.â€ť Closing with â€śThe Star Spangled Banner,â€ť Batisteâ€™s imperial solo piano gives the anthem perhaps its first real rethink since Hendrix at Woodstock.