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Booker Mural

Check out WWOZ’s A Closer Walk website. Whatever your preferred style of piano music, if you don’t know who Booker is, you really should delve into this amazing talent and one-off character. Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James BookerJames Bookermusicnew orleanspianoWWOZ

Bayou Maharajah

Genius — born on this day. For more on Booker check out the documentary Bayou Maharajah. Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Bookerboogie woogieJames Bookermusicnew orleanspiano

Booker’s Mysterious Knoxville Concert

Jack Neely reports in The Scruffy Citizen. (Thoroughly appreciate Cheryl Anne Grace‘s artistic rendition of Booker and my other favourite characters Ernie K-Doe, Fats, Allen Toussaint and Mr. Okra). Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James BookerCheryl Anne GraceJames Bookermusicnew orleans

Bayou Maharajah: James Booker Story

I’ve been anticipating seeing this for quite some time now and today was the day. The DVD packaging is superb and of course features a “who’s who” of the NOLA music scene. Two of my favorite clips include the 1973 Don Kirshner Rock Concert with Mac, the Harry Connick Sr. (and 12 y.o. Jr.) segments, and the Scott Billington segment featuring…

Bayou Maharajah

Now that Bayou Maharajah has had an airing at the ultimately inconsequential bricks and mortar “vanity marketing” film festivals (good for the CV but not for the bank account) and other miscellaneous one-off showings, the broader populace can now view this documentary via the usual streaming outlets. It’s such a shame that they all have the…

Why Does James Booker Matter?

Died on this day — without doubt one of the greats. No one has ever played the piano like Booker. In an email referring to the new deluxe Classified record, Harry Connick Jr. put it like this: “This CD is yet another example of the powerful genius of a unique and complex mind. I hear joy…

James Booker: Gonzo Live

This is a rerelease and though not of the calibre of the Classified rerelease it is a worthy supplement to the latter. Indeed a “must have” for a Booker fan — no throw aways or filler here.  Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Bookerbluesboogie woogieClassical musicJames BookerJazzmusicnew orleanspiano

Cocaine boogie: James Booker, the tragic piano genius of New Orleans

Not that one really needs any confirmation, but listening to this rerelease, the genius is palpable. Maestro producer Scott Billington‘s liner notes are fascinating. Here’s hoping that more releases are in the offing — there is precious little available even at the Louisiana Music Factory. Also, check out this Guardian piece plugging the recent documentary. Bayou Maharajah: The…

James Booker: Old Soul with New Wrinkles

Since we are coming up to the time of year when Booker died I thought I’d mark it now. IMHO Booker is one of those geniuses on par with “Gatemouth” Brown in the sense that they were so versatile encompassing so many different styles and so authentically. Both were “characters” but of course were very different in…