Bayou Maharajah 18
This vibrant documentary explores the life, times and music of piano legend James Booker, who Dr. John described as "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie genius New Orleans has ever produced".
Also known as the Piano Prince of New Orleans and The Black Liberace, Booker mixed gospel, boogie-woogie, blues, traditional and modern jazz and classical music to create a unique, breathtaking sound. He was an unparalleled musician whose eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle and isolation: triply-marginalised by his race, homosexuality, and physical disability, he still managed to excel as a musician in New Orleans and Europe in the 1960s-70s, fusing different music in breathtaking new ways.
Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews (with Hugh Laurie, Harry Connick Jr - who, along with Dr. John, was his student - Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and Charles Neville), the film paints a fascinating and rich portrait of an overlooked genius who sadly passed away at 43. A must-see for aficionados of jazz as well as being accessible to views who don't know their Professor Longhair from a Dr. John, this is a brilliant tribute that shows how the man - much like the city from which he came - was a study in contrasts.