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With Hollywood Africans, Batiste dives deep into his own personal and cultural heritage, weaving an intimate and emotional tapestry out of original material and American standards that carries the listener from the early jazz of New Orleans to the present day. Guiding the acclaimed singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and leader of the group Stay Human—since 2015 the house band of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert—was legendary producer T Bone Burnett, whose numerous accolades include Album of the Year Grammys for the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
“The goal was just to collaborate on something that felt authentic to both of us,” says Batiste. “What we came up with was an intimate, stripped-down portrait of who I am, and the lineage of musicians and performers who are really vital to my work and to his. On this record, I want us to bop, dance, laugh and cry to the sound of the music while we remember our black heroes and wield the superpowers they left us with. Because of them, I don't have to wear a mask. I get to be who I am.”