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Episode recap: Jon Batiste

Austin City Limits is thrilled to present one of America’s most versatile musicians, Jon Batiste, in a dazzling must-watch hour. The New Orleans bandleader and composer, a Grammy and Oscar-winning musician, delivers a high-energy tour-de-force backed by an 18-piece band, performing highlights from his soulful album WE ARE. The new installment premieres October 16 at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT as part of the series new Season 47. Despite the challenges facing live music during the past year, ACL is proud to deliver a new season of performances for viewers, all recorded at ACL’s studio home in Austin, Texas in 2021, in front of limited live audiences. The program continues its extraordinary run as the longest-running music television show in history, providing viewers a front-row seat to the best in live performance for a remarkable 47 years. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and full episodes are made available to stream online at immediately following the initial broadcast.   

Jon Batiste mixes his own brand of New Orleans jazz with soul, funk, R&B, gospel and hip-hop in an hour-long celebration of pure joy. Batiste may be best known as a television personality as the bandleader and musical director for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” but the scion of a New Orleans musical dynasty is a Grammy and Oscar-winning talent, and he lights up the stage in a performance for the ages in his first-ever ACL appearance. In a love letter to his southern roots and heritage, Batiste takes viewers on a journey through Black American music history from ragtime to trap. Taking the stage in a red leather suit and Stetson, he is backed by a 10-piece band for the ecstatic “We Are,” a celebratory anthem of the African diaspora and the title track to his acclaimed 2021 album. The leader’s contagious joy is on full display throughout the performance as he reveals, “This is not a concert for me—this is a spiritual practice.” 

New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band joins the party with a second line groove as the energy level soars and Batiste descends into the crowd. The showman thrills as he dances across the stage, moving seamlessly from piano, his main instrument, to guitar, saxophone, and melodica. Batiste is on guitar, leading the 18-piece band for the soulful raveup “Tell the Truth,” before moving to piano and ending the number on his knees center stage. “Boyhood,” a fond ode to growing up in the Big Easy, leads into a gorgeous snippet of Bill Withers “Lean On Me.” The unstoppable Batiste delivers a fascinating medley at the piano, playfully working in everything from classical to ragtime, demonstrating his remarkable genre-defying skills. A frequent collaborator, Batiste is joined by Austin guitar great Gary Clark Jr. for the slowburn bayou lament “Cry,” before closing the hour with a stunning solo finale at the piano featuring the ballad, “Don’t Stop,” from 2018’s Hollywood Africans.

“In my over 40 years with Austin City Limits, I have never seen a performance so joyful, so inspiring, so energizing, so spiritual as Jon Batiste. It was a magical night,” said executive producer Terry Lickona. “People were laughing, singing, crying, and of course dancing. Jon Batiste is a superstar!”

Jon Batiste setlist:












Season 47 Broadcast Line-up (second half of season to be announced separately):

October 2 Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram & Jon Randall

October 9 Jade Bird / Dayglow

October 16 Jon Batiste

October 23 Sarah Jarosz / Billy Strings

October 30 Brandy Clark / Charley Crockett

November 6 Leon Bridges / Khruangbin

November 13 Jackson Browne

November 20 Brittany Howard

Watch live, stream anytime, and let ACL be a trusted sidekick for entertainment during these challenging days. The complete line-up for the full 13-week season, including five new episodes to air beginning January 2022, will be announced at a later date.  Viewers can visit for news regarding live streams, future tapings and episode schedules or by following ACL on Facebook, Twitter and IG. Fans can also browse the ACL YouTube channel for exclusive songs, behind-the-scenes videos and full-length artist interviews.

Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits (ACL) offers viewers unparalleled access to featured acts in an intimate setting that provides a platform for artists to deliver inspired, memorable, full-length performances. Now in its 47th Season, the program is taped live before a concert audience from The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in television history and remains the only TV series to ever be awarded the National Medal of Arts. Since its inception, the groundbreaking music series has become an institution that’s helped secure Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The historic Austin PBS Studio 6A, home to 36 years of ACL concerts, has been designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark. In 2011, ACL moved to the new venue ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin. ACL received a rare institutional Peabody Award for excellence and outstanding achievement in 2012.  

Austin City Limits is produced by Austin PBS and funding is provided in part by Dell Technologies, Workrise, the Austin Convention Center Department and Cirrus Logic. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Austin City Limits. Learn more about Austin City Limits, programming and history at