Jon Batiste is one of jazz’s greatest ambassadors. As the bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert show, he brings a fun, all-encompassing brand of jazz to an increasingly wide audience. And while he’s known for nudging jazz into the future — whether by covering Lady Gaga songs or video game themes — he’s a traditionalist at heart, and his best work often carries the spirit of the past.
That’s certainly the case his take on Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Today’s Song of the Day, Batiste’s version is plaintive and patient, sketched in shades darker than the original, but it still stays true to Armstrong’s message of optimism and simple pleasures.
Want more Batiste? He’ll be performing at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., on June 15 as part of the DC Jazz Festival. The fest, which runs June 7-16, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. For tickets and other info, visit the festival’s website.