Tim Finn Listening to Jon Batiste New Release We Are

Tim Finn Listening to Jon Batiste New Release We Are

Posted by Timothy Finn (For over 20 years Tim was the Music Editor for the Kansas City Star and currently contributes to In Kansas City magazine and 90.9 the Bridge.) on 29th Apr 2021


Batiste is the leader of Stephen Colbert's late-night talk-show band, Stay Human. He is also a New Orleans native steeped in that city's rich and vast music heritage, and “We Are” rattles and hums with the sounds of his hometown (horns abound).

For example: the title track, which features the horn-heavy marching band from his high school and a children's gospel choir and marches determinedly to an irresistible chant: “We are the chosen ones / We are the golden ones” – a declaration that feels at once jubilant and defiant.

He pulls its grooves from other sources, such as hip-hop, '70s R&B and '50s and '60s soul. From one track to the next, the music evokes sounds of the mighty and influential – Stevie Wonder, Booker T., Curtis Mayfield, Shuggy Otis, Prince.

Song titles broadcast lyric themes: “Freedom,” “Tell The Truth,” “Show Me the Way,” “Boy Hood.” Those messages can get overshadowed amid the array of groove-heavy music, so pay attention. Musically “We Are” declares who we are and have been; lyrically it declares who we should aim to be.