Bayou Maharaja: The Tragic Genius of James Booker
“Bayou Maharajah” explores the life, times, and music of piano legend James Booker, whom Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” Booker was an unparalleled musician whose eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle and isolation. Triply marginalized by his race, sexuality, and physical disability, he still managed to excel as a musician in New Orleans and Europe in the turbulent 1960s and ’70s, fusing secular, sacred, pop, and classical traditions in breathtaking new ways. A brilliant stylist of soaring imagination, Booker personified the agony of genius in a time of paradigmatic change. The Hollywood Reporter writes: “A must-see for aficionados of New Orleans jazz, it’s also accessible to viewers who don't know a Professor Longhair from a Dr. John.”
With director Keber and a Booker-inspired concert by New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott.
Nancy & Ken Kranzberg