Bayou Maharajah (EDU)

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World Premiere - SXSW Film Festival
Winner! Best Louisiana Feature - New Orleans Film Festival
Winner! Grand Jury Prize - Fairhope Film Festival
“James Booker is the best musician of the 20th century.” - Harry Connick Jr.
“This ‘winning’ doc features a can’t miss subject and plenty of performance footage. A must-see for aficionados of New Orleans jazz.” - The Hollywood Reporter
“There are very few pianists who cannot be transcribed. He (Booker) is one of them. - Billboard Magazine
“Lily Kebers insightful documentary into the life of this great New Orleans pianist and one of the worlds finest musicians is in real respects a similar high-wire act. Nothing is overstated or made lurid here, nor is this beautiful filmic reflection of a deeply talented and troubled man a romanticized accountInstead, to the extent possible with such an enigmatic artist, the great James Booker is instead found, studied and deeply respected in a careful, wonderful film. - David Simon, Creator of The Wire and Treme
The Story:
Bayou Maharajah 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.”
This roller coaster portrait traces Booker’s life from his early years as a chart-topping child prodigy, to his star-studded years touring and playing as a sideman, through his outrageous solo career in America and Europe. First-person narrators lead the viewers through Booker’s unbelievable onstage performances, occasionally in his underwear, dishing out drug-fueled conspiracy theories. Featuring interviews with the likes of Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint, together with a generous helping of archival footage, the film brings to life the unforgettable story of this amazing and forgotten musician.
Areas of study: Jazz, Piano, Music Theory, Music Performance, African American History, New Orleans, LGBTQ, Substance Abuse