Everything we know about Jon Batiste’s documentary ‘American Symphony’
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Everything we know about Jon Batiste's documentary ‘American Symphony’

The world of music and documentary film enthusiasts have something remarkable to look forward to, as Netflix recently announced the acquisition of American Symphony, a documentary that delves into the life of the celebrated musician Jon Batiste. 

Directed by Matthew Heineman, this documentary made its debut at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival, where it captivated audiences with its intimate portrayal of Jon Batiste’s journey through the highs and lows of his career.

Early reviews of the documentary have been full of praise. Even Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, recognised the incredible storytelling in American Symphony and seized the opportunity to share this remarkable journey with a global audience.

In case you want to know more about American Symphony, read on!

What is American Symphony About?

American Symphony promises to be an emotionally charged documentary that chronicles the life of Jon Batiste during the year 2022. This particular year was monumental for the musician, as he won six Grammy Awards, further solidifying his position as one of our time’s most talented and influential artists. However, this remarkable success was juxtaposed with a deeply personal struggle—the return of his wife, Suleika Jaouad’s long-dormant leukaemia.

The Obamas expressed their enthusiasm for being part of this project, highlighting the film’s resonating themes of strength and grace in the face of adversity. “The themes of resilience and love at the heart of ‘American Symphony’ resonate deeply with us—and we’re thrilled to bring the film into the Higher Ground family,” the Obamas said in a statement. “Jon and Suleika’s journey of grace and strength echoes the experience of so many families who are forced to navigate the complications that surface when dreams meet adversity.”

Why did Jon Batiste leave The Late Show?

Batiste made waves in the late-night television world as the bandleader and musical director for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. However, he departed from the show in 2022. The decision to leave the show was likely influenced by his burgeoning music career and the demands of his personal life as his wife fought leukaemia.

Colbert even bid Batiste farewell on the show, “I’ve got news about our dear friend Jon Batiste,” said Colbert. “Now, sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that Jon hasn’t been here this summer. Well, I have an update. Jon has decided to leave the show. But it’s for all the best reasons, including to continue sharing his art with the world.”

Colbert continued, “We wanted to give him a big in-person send-off. Joe Walsh was going to pop out of a cake, but Jon’s not in town. I hope he’s cutting his new album, and I hope it’s called More Grammys, Please. We have been so lucky to have a front-row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven years, and will we miss him here? Yeah! Yeah! But we’re happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back on as a guest with your next hit record. I love you.”

Who directed American Symphony?

Matthew Heineman, an Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker, skillfully weaves Jon Batiste’s personal and professional struggles in the documentary American Symphony. Heineman is renowned for his documentary work, which includes Cartel Land, an Academy Award-nominated film, and The First Wave, a documentary that garnered seven Emmy nominations.

When is American Symphony released?

American Symphony debuted at the Telluride Film Fest in August, and Netflix plans on releasing the documentary on the streaming platform later this year. American Symphony is reportedly vying for a November 29th, 2023, release date on Netflix.