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Louis Cato, TV late night bandleader, offers ‘Reflections,’ a new album of ‘laid bare, honest’ songs

Louis Cato, TV late night bandleader, offers ‘Reflections,’ a new album of ‘laid bare, honest’ songs

NEW YORK – Musician and producer Jack DeBoe recollects the time a few years in the past when he totally grasped the sheer musical capacity of his new pal, Louis Cato.

DeBoe and Cato have been enjoying a gig in Boston when DeBoe bought up from his drum equipment for a break. Cato, enjoying bass, quickly sat down on the drums, continued to play the bass together with his left hand, put a drumstick in his proper hand to hit the cymbals and drums and used his ft to play the kick and the excessive hat. Then he sang a music.

He wasn’t exhibiting off. He was simply expressing himself.

“He at all times places the music first and never any kind of virtuosic efficiency or demonstration,” says DeBoe. “It’s nearly such as you’re not going to take a look at an octopus and say, ‘Hey, you’re exhibiting off!’ No, that’s an octopus. They’ve bought eight arms. You’ll be able to’t be mad at them for that.”

Cato’s exceptional musical items are on present this summer season together with his second album, “Reflections,” which was a option to categorical himself whereas his common day gig as bandleader of “The Late Present With Stephen Colbert” is quiet due to the Hollywood strike.

As you would possibly count on, the album is a labor of affection. All however one music is written by Cato and on one tune alone, he’s credited with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, tambourine, seed shaker, live performance bass drum, lead vocals and background vocals.

“I’m sort of a little bit of a do-it myself sort of character,” Cato says. “I’m a curious particular person and the puzzle of soundscape simply invitations all of my curiosity.”

The brand new album is kind of completely different from his 2017 debut, “Beginning Now,” through which he showcased “every little thing I may presumably do.” With “Reflections,” he let go of the bells and whistles. “What’s the most laid naked, trustworthy model of this music that I wrote?” was the strategy.

The album veers from folks to funk with soul and Latin influences. “One other Day” contains a duet with Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth & The Catapult, whereas ”Cutie Child” is a candy lullaby. It comes out Friday.

“He’s grown fairly a bit and lived extra of his life, gathered extra experiences and has extra of a narrative that he needs to share with the world,” says DeBoe, who helped produce each albums.

The eight tracks on “Reflections” embody one cowl, “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones, a nod to the weekly covers Cato releases on his social media. He makes use of it to maintain his musical arranger muscle tissue robust, questioning, for example, how a Beatles music would possibly sound if recorded in Motown.

“I’m actually fascinated by this idea {that a} actually well-written music can reside in plenty of genres and types,” he says. “It was essential for me to have a canopy on the report, only one the place I kind of take that strategy.”

It might sound as if Cato can play something — a musical octopus — however he’s fast to level on the market are some devices that baffle him, like when he tried out his sister’s oboe as a child.

“My consideration span doesn’t at all times match my curiosity,” he says, laughing. “The gateway to entry simply to not sound like a duck is a couple of 12 months. And I didn’t have that sort of consideration span to be completely trustworthy.”

Cato has been a part of Colbert’s “Late Present” from the beginning. Unique bandleader Jon Batiste known as him as much as ask if he’d assist craft the theme music even earlier than the present went on the air. He was then requested to hitch the present’s band and took over from Batiste final 12 months, having had what he calls a “front-row seat” to find out how to do it nicely.

“I take it as my job to take care of engagement with the viewers,” he says. “We maintain the power within the room up.” He’s even mentioned the function with David Letterman’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer.

It’s a job that requires Cato to suppose quick on his ft. Colbert typically asks his band chief questions, like “What do you do to remain wholesome, Louis?” or “What are you giving up for Lent?” Their mutual respect is obvious: “I began working for a boss and met a pal alongside the way in which,” says Cato.

One apparent profit to such a late evening perch is the musical visitor who sits in with the band, like St. Vincent or Joe Walsh. James Taylor is a frequent customer, somebody Cato calls “a titanic, artistic, superpower.”

Cato’s love of music was proven early, when his mom introduced residence a drum set when he was 2. He later was given an acoustic guitar and when the strings burst, he realized to play bass on it.

He studied on the Berklee School of Music in Boston however left to develop into a gigging musician. He labored with John Legend, Talib Kweli, A Tribe Known as Quest, Jack White and toured with Bobby McFerrin. He grew to become a musical Swiss Military knife, somebody who was employed as an alternative of 5 or 6 musicians.

Cato should steadiness loads as bandleader, from selecting one thing for the visitor horn gamers to discovering a bit of a well known funk music as a result of many within the viewers are vacationers. His go-tos are sometimes Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Marvel, Led Zeppelin and, in a nod to his predecessor, the sounds of New Orleans.

On “The Late Present,” the irony is that tens of millions of viewers not often get to listen to the band carry out an entire music by means of. Normally, they take viewers out and in of commercials, typically with a giant end earlier than a brand new visitor is unveiled.

“When the cameras usually are not on, it kind of feels such as you’ve simply transitioned from like ‘Lights, digital camera, motion!’ right into a speakeasy,” he says. “It’s an entire live performance in between industrial breaks and it’s only for us.”


Mark Kennedy is at

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