Jon Batiste won five Grammys. A wonderful recognition of the work of a wonderful person. Please watch his acceptance speech. You’ll grow ten feet tall.
One of the many great points that Jon makes rings a bell that I love:
“You know, I really, I believe this to my core, there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor, the creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when, they need it most it’s like a song or an album is made and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”
That idea of radar connects with what Eudora Welty says about characters in fiction and what Anne Lamott says about reading and writing. Lamott naturally turns to the metaphor of song in her description. This also connects to what Jeremy Denk calls the “shiver of delight” in creation.
Jon was featured on Sunday Morning recently along with his wife Suleika Jaouad in a rich and moving story that also previewed his new symphony.
It is a such a joy to interview Jon Batiste because he’s always giving. “There’s a gift that was put in us to give to the world,” he told me when I interviewed him for CBS This Morning in 2018. “It’s healed and uplifted people and brought people together….And that’s what I’m about.” (The full piece isn’t on-line for copyright reasons. There are outtakes of the CBS This Morning piece, however). There’s also no public record of a sprawling conversation I had with him at the Aspen Ideas Festival. We talked about the symphony he’s putting on at Carnegie Hall next month and he worked with the young musicians studying in Aspen that summer who had been given a copy of the early score he was working on. Since the symphony was in its infancy at the time, various interested parties understandably didn’t want the partial bit out in the world. (Also, I played guitar with him as you can see here which was lovely because he creates this generous space in which, even if you have no talent, you feel welcomed). I also interviewed him for Face the Nation some years ago (Here’s the short version and the long extended cut.)
What a light in the world. I love the phrase from Marian below: “We are so lucky to have Jon Batiste in our life span.”