Everything Jon Batiste does brings an instant smile to our faces. His endless supply of energy and positivity is everything we need as we find our way to some sense of post-pandemic normalcy. His latest single “FREEDOM,” from his critically-acclaimed album WE ARE, is everything we’d expect from the Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning musician and then some. Described as “a celebration of Black joy, independence and New Orleans culture and energy,” if the track itself doesn’t prompt to you to book a flight to the Bayou, the accompanying visual transports viewers there in an instant.
The Alan Ferguson-directed feature captures the spirit of New Orleans in all of its vibrant and resilient glory. We watch as Batiste leads the ultimate second line through the streets, which includes such NOLA royalty as the St. Augustine High School Marching 100, the Joyful Choir of New Orleans and Queen Tahj of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. Other talented dancers, musicians and residents join in on all the fun and the joy of this street party is palpable.
Monday night, Batiste took the celebration to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, where he serves as bandleader and music director. Backed by his Stay Human band and the Harlem Gospel Choir, his brilliant performance marked the first musical return to the Ed Sullivan Theater and ended in a standing ovation. Even Colbert himself couldn’t help but cut a rug alongside Batiste and the crew, as the jubilant moment was truly a sight to see.
Watch the “FREEDOM” visual below and revisit his performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Be sure to add the full WE ARE album to your collection from your preferred digital platform.