Who is Louis Cato, the new conductor of the “Late Show”? |
Late-night television might look a little different these days: Louis Cato is the new conductor of The Late Show with Stephen Colbertsucceeding Jon Batiste on a permanent basis after replacing the Grammy winner this summer.
Host Stephen Colbert announced the change on the CBS show on Thursday, August 11, hailing the “musical genius” of Cato, who has been part of the house band since Colbert took over. The late show in 2015.
“Louis did a great job this summer, and he’s very humble, so he won’t say that,” Colbert said. “But I will. He’s a musical genius. He can play practically every instrument there. Give him an afternoon; he’ll learn to play Mozart on a shoehorn.
As bandleader of the group now called The Late Show Band, Cato will work with band members Joe Saylor, 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 in a statement, per Variety. “Watching and learning from both Jon and Stephen over the past seven years, I am truly excited to continue the tradition of excellence they have established.”
According to his biography, Cato is a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter who has worked with Beyoncé, John Legend, and Mariah Carey, and toured with Bobby McFerrin and John Scofield, among others. Born in Portugal and raised in a musical family in the Carolinas, Cato played drums at the age of 2 and played wind instruments at the age of 12, the bio adds. He later added guitar and bass to his repertoire as he worked his way into Boston’s underground jazz and soul venues.
Cato played with jazz multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller in a jam session at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2007 and toured with him for several years. In fact, Cato was touring with Miller in Switzerland in 2012 when their tour bus crashed. Cato broke his back in two places in the wreckage. “I’m still here and I’m very grateful for that,” he said. berklee today in 2016. “I took away from that that I’m still meant to be here.”
A chance encounter with Batiste years ago near Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where Cato studied for two semesters, led Batiste to call Cato to produce a session for him in 2015 — and then got him. brought on board at The late show. “[Jon] said he was recording a theme music for a TV show,” Cato said. berklee todayrecalling that 2015 session. “I almost didn’t because I had to go back to Boston the next day to have my wisdom teeth pulled, but I followed my instincts and stayed.”
Cato released his first solo album, From now onwhich he mixed and produced himself, in 2016. In addition to his new role as Last show bandleader, the Brooklyn resident is working on a new album, reflectionsslated for release later this year.
The Late Show with Stephen ColbertWeeknights, 11:35/10:35c, CBS