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Bayou Maharajah

HD   Unrated Closed Captioning

Lily Keber

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About the Movie

This critically acclaimed documentary explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, the man Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” A brilliant pianist, his eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle, prejudice, and isolation. A wild genius with a style that combined elements of rhythm-and-blues, jazz, ragtime and classical music, Booker gained the nicknames "Piano Prince of New Orleans", "Black Liberace" and "Bayou Maharajah". Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews, the film paints a portrait of this overlooked genius.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 7
  • Fresh: 6
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Booker sparkles in the archival performance clips, and director Lily Keber wisely homes in on his live solo performances, bringing out his character and talent. – Kevin Warwick, Chicago Reader, May 1, 2014

Fresh: [A] richly enjoyable documentary tribute. – Peter Bradshaw, Guardian, Jul 7, 2016

Fresh: A sympathetic portrait of a genuinely idiosyncratic, outrageous individual. – Tom Huddleston, Time Out, Jul 4, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

a great musical documentary

I was lucky enough to see this wonderful movie at Noise Pop and highly recommend it! A great movie and a wonderful tribute to one of the great American musicians. Great to see James Booker Carroll III's story be told and hopeful remembered now for all time.

Bayou Maharajah

Magic! Pure magic. Will give you goosebumps and you'll want to see it again and again. Beautiful film, highly recommended.

Bayou Maharajah

We saw this in the theater when it was playing in the Twin Cities and it was fantastic! Well crafted and just a great tribute to a very talented but troubled man. I am so excited that it is now available for purchase. My Christmas shopping will be done by April this year. So happy to be able to purchase this film.

Bayou Maharajah
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Customer Ratings