It’s a crisp night in Hollywood. Hurricane Hillary is a blast from the past, and fans have lined up to see Jon Batiste at the Fonda Wednesday night. 


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The crowd was more mature than most the Fonda sees; they are taking social distancing into account, politely asking each other if they have extra tickets to the sold-out listening party, ordering rum and coke at the bar in their boat shoes and Solomon’s and ask each other how they became a fan of Jon Batiste. 

Before the show, I spoke briefly to a few fans about what drew them to Batiste.

“I saw him on the Grammy’s, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

“I saw him on Stephen Colbert.”

“He bridges the gap between the new wave and contemporary jazz that features amazing vocalist that complements his musical pallet. He brings something for the old and the new. For all ages. “ 

Jon Batiste at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné
Jon Batiste at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné

And they were right. I have no words to describe how much I loved the show. 

As Incense lightly engulfed the room and drums and bass guitars mellowed out the  muffled conversations, we were all engulfed into the world of Jon Batiste and his newest album, World Music Radio

artist to watch in 2023

It was an incredible experience. An expecting couple got engaged with his help. Native Soul had the crowd chant with them. A reminder that we are on Tongva land. The photo pit and I got our steps in as we followed Batiste and his band through the crowded theatre, from top to bottom.

And the most unexpected moment of the night for me, Lil Wayne came out to do a surprise performance of “Uneasy,” one of the title singles off World Music Radio

Lil Wayne at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné
Lil Wayne at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné

I felt lucky to have learned about the show and experience Batiste’s newest album live. I was in awe, from his melodica and guitar playing to his harmonic moments that transported me from Hollywood to New Orleans, and memories of my days growing up in the church.

Batiste says music is a spiritual experience, and he didn’t lie. 

Jon Batiste gave one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed live. He’s an artist’s artist. He is a true master at his craft that creates a space for everyone to be inspired I never wanted it to end. 

 Photo & Words: Asha Mone Jackson

Stay tuned for Jon Batiste tour dates!

Jon Batiste at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné
Jon Batiste Crowd at The Fonda Theatre by Asha Moné