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At 28, musician Jon Batiste is considered by many to be one of the most exciting and progressive new crossover talents on the scene today. His modern take on the American songbook — equally influenced by his passion for jazz and classical styles, which he calls “social music” — attracts critical acclaim as well as audiences across all demographics.
Batiste and Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, both New Orleans natives, discuss Batiste’s music, their hometown, the importance of music education, and the state and future of American musical traditions more broadly. Batiste demonstrates much of the music they discuss on his melodica.
Tricia Johnson is editorial director of public programs at the Aspen Institute.