Bayou Maharajah

Bayou Maharajah
USA, 2013
Directed by:

Dir.: Lily Keber
Prod.: Lily Keber, Nathaniel Kohn
Scr.: Lily Keber
Phot.: David White
Ed.: Tim Watson
Music: James Booker
Distributor: Lily Keber
98 mins.

The film explores the life, times and music of piano legend James Booker, who 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 1960-70s, 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. Booker, who died in 1983, was too erratic and beset by personal demons to ever establish much of a career for himself outside of The Big, but he cast a long shadow.


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