Bayou Maharajah (2013)
Stream on Prime Video (among others)
This top-notch documentary examines the life of the incredibly-talented, but highly embattled, pianist James Booker. Classically trained, Booker is an under-appreciated genius who is part of the impressive and long line of New Orleans piano legends. Booker struggled with many hurdles to success – mental health issues, substance abuse, a queer identity – yet he produced music that is richly complex and technically brilliant while appealing to a wide-range of audiences. This film is a must-see for pianists of any style and proficiency.
“Bayou Maharajah explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker. Featuring interviews with Harry Connick Jr., Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and Hugh Laurie, as well as never-before seen live performances, archival photographs and original stories, the film brings to life the unforgettable story of an American genius.”