As of this writing, the fundraising effort to secure the music rights for “Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker” is more than half way to its goal of raising $15,000. The deadline is January 15, 2013. Please consider donating for this very important work.
“Bayou Maharajah” is a feature-length documentary on the life, times and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker. Booker’s genius defies easy explanation. He is, first and foremost, one of America’s finest piano players. Period.
Dr. John once said that Booker is the only guy he ever knew who would play a song with every verse in a different key.
Booker combined his classical training with an encyclopedic knowledge of music and filtered this through a singular take on that distinct New Orleans blend of funk, gospel, blues, R&B, gutbucket, and street syncopations.
He never played the same set twice. His off-the-cuff medleys could blend a Rachmaninoff tune with Sinatra, dip into some Fats Domino, take a detour through the Afro-Caribbean roots of New Orleans, and end up in the first-row pew of a Catholic church.