Drummer, producer, and artist Jamal Batiste creates, performs, and produces music that is rich with relevant cultural and social dynamics that can be enjoyed by all. Jamal forged his forward-thinking soul/funk/R&B sound from a lifetime of performance and composition in those genres as well as gospel, second line, rock, hip-hop, classical, Latin, and jazz. His innovative aesthetic is evidenced in his most recent release, T.U.D Just Jamal, as well as his CD The Unorthodox Drummer: The First Assemblage.
Jamal is the driving force of his band, presently in the studio working on their follow-up to 2012’s powerhouse single, “Just Do You.” The song and video have reached fans via 50 Cent’s website (http://thisis50.com), and is currently featured in CNN’s Go New Orleans video. JAM-ALL have been featured performers at a number of New Orleans festivals and events, including the Crime Stoppers Teen Peace Summit at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena, Jazz in the Park, Bayou Boogaloo, and the Peace Day Concert.
Jamal took his first steps as an actor in a feature film in 2014 with his debut in the James Brown biopic Get On Up, produced by Mick Jagger, among others. Jamal played John “Jabo” Starks, James Brown’s drummer on enduring tracks such as “Get On Up” and “It’s A Man’s World.” After the film’s release, Jamal received a proclamation from the New Orleans City Council, presented by Councilmember James Gray. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave Jamal a certificate of recognition that acknowledges him as “The Unorthodox Drummer,” as well as for his commitment to music, his talent, and his role in Get on Up, submitted by Dwight Jarrett.
Though Jamal is fortunate to have a music legacy that stretches beyond his own lifetime as a member of the legendary Batiste Family, he began his prodigious career when he started playing drums at the age of three. His professional debut took place two years later at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, playing with The Batiste Brothers and on his own in the Kids Tent. He has performed at the festival ever since. In 2006, Jamal earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of New Orleans. For two years, he held the position of Assistant Band Director at The Batiste Cultural Arts Academy, and is serving as the Minister of Music at Hill of Zion Baptist Church in Metairie, LA.
More recently, Jamal has brought his talent and expertise to a host of projects, including The Batiste Family endeavor Fathers and Sons of the New Millennium, and a sold-out show at the Aulnay All Blues Festival in France (Jamal also was featured as the cover art for the entire fest.
Media on both a local and national level has featured Jamal and his work. CNN, CBS Nightly News, USA Today, Ebony, WGNO’s News with a Twist, The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, Offbeat, and Gambit are just a few outlets where Jamal has recently appeared. Jamal played snare drum in Ne-Yo’s video “Never Knew I Needed” from Disney’s Princess and the Frog, and gave a talk at the 2014 Cutting Edge Music Conference about the audition process for his role in Get On Up.
Jamal has toured on an international scale, playing in Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe. He has shared the stage with luminaries such as Bonnie Raitt, Jill Scott, Public Enemy, Drake, Trombone Shorty, Dee-1, Irma Thomas, Burnell Worrell of George Clinton & P-Funk, among many others.
Written by Karen Lozinki