Musical Interlude #4 - Jon Batiste

Sometimes, people think that Jazz is music from the past. Jon Batiste deconstructs this old narrative, making Jazz sound fresh and contemporary, and innovates with a new narrative.

Not only that, but he also uses Jazz as a powerful metaphor for democracy and diversity. For instance, he doesn’t believe in the separation of musical genres. To him, musical genres are constructs the music industry imagines so we focus our attention on a particular category. But what if we break those fictitious walls? “I’d argue that that's more exciting for the listener than to hear something that they're expecting.”, says Batiste.

Batiste’s first musical influences came from video game scores from the late 90s like Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy, and Street Fighter. This was because he was always attached to the narratives of the imaginary world in the games.

In a recent interview with NPR, Batiste shares his experience: ”Visual sources are really important for me, and narratives are always inspiring to me. So I think the combination of having music that was tied to a narrative with characters and themes was something that really stuck with me.”

His music will get you closer to a state of flow, a sort of celestial message that will release the tension that one experiences because we worry too much.

Take a listen to his latest NPR Tiny Desk Concert below. Of course, if you have not seen the movie “Soul”, I recommend that you immerse yourself in that story too. “Soul” won best score Oscar, making Jon Batiste the second black composer to receive an award. It will transport you to a universe that might help you dream about your next narrative. I promise.

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