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Encyclopedia > James Booker
James Booker

James Booker - Pianist, Vocalist, Recording Artist (December 17, 1939 - November 8, 1983) Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1939 (MCMXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 312th day of the year (313th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ...



James Carroll Booker III was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on December 17, 1939, son and grandson of Baptist ministers, both of whom played the piano. He spent most of his childhood on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where his father pastored a church. Booker received a saxophone as a gift from his mother, but he demonstrated a stronger interest in the keyboard. It was his sister’s music teacher who taught him piano scales and how to read music. He first played organ in his father's churches. Booker also recalled being hit by an ambulance at age nine, and being treated for multiple broken bones; the pianist speculated that the nearly fatal experience and treatment was linked to his later drug use. New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Coptic Orthodox Pope · Roman Catholic Pope Archbishop of Canterbury · Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      Baptist... The coastline of Mississippi which is commonly refered to as the Mississippi Gulf Coast is comprised of three Mississippi counties which lie on the Gulf of Mexico: Hancock County, Mississippi, Harrison County, Mississippi, and Jackson County, Mississippi. ... The saxophone (colloquially referred to as sax) is a conical-bored instrument of the woodwind family. ...

He was known for his musical gifts at an early age, and was considered a piano prodigy, giving classical recitals at age six, and continued classical training until twelve. He was acknowledged to have perfect pitch, instant musical recall, and a photographic memory in sight reading. After returning to New Orleans in his early adolescence he attended the prestigious Xavier Academy Preparatory School. He was playing Frédéric Chopin, Erroll Garner, and Liberace, and could play their solos from memory. He would sneak out and play boogie-woogie, and also learned local music from Tuts Washington, a family friend. Absolute pitch is either the exact pitch of a note described by its number of vibrations per second, or the ability, commonly referred to as perfect pitch, to identify a note by name without the benefit of a reference note. ... Photographic memory or eidetic memory is the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with great accuracy and in seemingly unlimited volume. ... Sight reading is reading and performing a work of music without having seen it before. ... The only known photograph of Frédéric Chopin, believed to have been taken by Louis-Auguste Bisson in 1849. ... Erroll Louis Garner (June 15, 1921 - January 21, 1977) was a jazz pianist whose distinctive and melodic style brought him both popular acclaim and the admiration of peers. ... Wladziu Valentino Liberace (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987), better known by only his last name Liberace (LIB-ber-RAH-chee), was an American entertainer. ... Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became very popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. ... This page may meet Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ...

Booker was a diverse player who explored a variety of popular songs, ranging from jazz standards to rock. Rather than playing tunes in their original idioms, he integrated this repertoire into a virtuosic style that combined elements of blues, boogie-woogie, gospel, stride, latin, and classical piano. Sometimes his styles were achieved by playing entire chords in steady groups, divided by a lower note in the bassline. Booker was also noted for his abilities on the organ, and examples of his organ playing can be found on the album United Our Thing Will Stand. Booker also had a powerful, wide-ranged singing voice. Professor Longhair and Ray Charles were among his important influences. Jazz standard refers to a tune that is widely known, performed, and recorded among jazz musicians. ... For other uses, see Rock music (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... “Blues music” redirects here. ... Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became very popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. ... Gospel music is a musical genre characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian. ... Stride is a type of piano-playing, used primarily in jazz. ... Latin American music, or the music of Latin America, is sometimes called Latin music. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Typical fingering for a second inversion C major chord on a guitar. ... In popular music a bassline, also bass line, is an instrumental part, or line, which is in the bass or lowest range and thus lower than the other parts and part of the rhythm section. ... Professor Longhair (born Henry Roeland Byrd, also known as Roy Bald Head Byrd and as Fess) (December 19, 1918 - January 30, 1980) was a legendary New Orleans blues musician. ... For the composer and conductor of the Ray Charles Singers, see Ray Charles (composer). ...

His sister took him along to her gospel show on WMRY in New Orleans, and he so impressed the staff at an audition, that he had his own show on Saturday afternoons at age eleven, playing blues and gospel piano. He would remain there for a few years, even putting a band together, "Booker Boy and the Rhythmaires".

By age of fourteen he auditioned for Dave Bartholomew at Imperial Records, where he cut a couple of sides as "Little Booker". Bartholomew recognized his talent for imitating any style, so he hired him as studio pianist to fill in and overdub piano parts, which he did for Fats Domino. Dave Bartholomew (born 24 December 1920, Edgard, Louisiana, United States of America) is a musician, band leader, composer, and arranger, prominent in the music of New Orleans throughout the second half of the 20th century. ... Imperial Records has been the name of at least three different record labels of the 20th century. ... Antoine Dominique Fats Domino (born February 26, 1928) is a classic R&B and rock and roll singer, songwriter and pianist. ...

In 1958, Arthur Rubinstein gave a concert in New Orleans. Afterwards, eighteen-year-old Booker was introduced to the concert pianist and played several tunes for him. Rubinstein was astonished, saying "I could never play that... never at that tempo." (The Times-Picayune, 1958) For the 19th century Russian pianist and composer, see Anton Rubinstein Arthur Rubinstein photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 Arthur Rubinstein (January 28, 1887 – December 20, 1982) was a Polish pianist who is widely considered as one of the greatest piano virtuosos of the 20th Century. ... The New Orleans Times-Picayune is the major daily newspaper serving New Orleans, Louisiana. ...

He would amass quite a long list of credentials in the recording and touring categories with a variety of artists. These would include between the years of 1956 to 1960 sessions and tours with Amos Milburn, Joe Tex, Shirley and Lee, Huey Smith, Dee Clarke, Earl King, Bobby Blue Bland, Junior Parker, and Smiley Lewis. In 1961 he recorded "Gonzo" which became a local hit. Booker was then back on the road and in studios with B.B. King, Little Richard, Lloyd Price, and Wilson Pickett. There is a grey area in the mid-1960's when he did time at Angola State Penitentiary for heroin possesion, then returned to New Orleans to play in the local bars and clubs. He would reemerge again in 1968 doing the piano work on Fat’s Is Back for Fats Domino, and would continue to work and record for the next several years with Freddie King, King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, T Bone Walker, Ringo Starr, Maria and Geoff Muldaur, Labelle, Jerry Garcia, and John Mayall. Amos Milburn (April 1, 1927 – January 3, 1980) was an American rhythm and blues singer, and pianist, popular in the 1940s and 1950s. ... Joe Tex (born Joseph Arrington Jnr, in Baytown, Texas, on 8 August 1933; died in Navasota, Texas, on 13 August 1982) was an American soul singer most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. ... Shirley Goodman (born Shirley Mae Goodman, 19 June 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana — died 5 July 2005, Los Angeles, California) was an American R&B singer, who had substantial success both in the 1950s and 1970s. ... Huey Piano Smith (born 26 January 1934 in New Orleans) is an American rhythm and blues pianist whose sound was influential in rock n roll. ... Earl King (February 7, 1934 - April 17, 2003) was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter, most active in rhythm & blues music. ... Bobby Blue Bland (born January 27, 1930) is an American singer and was an original member of The Beale Streeters. ... Junior Parkers style influenced early rockabilly artists, such as Elvis Presley. ... Smiley Lewis (July 5, 1913 – October 7, 1966) was a Rhythm and blues musician. ... Riley B. King aka B. B. King (b. ... Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), better known by the stage name Little Richard, is an African-American singer, songwriter, and pianist, who began performing in the 1940s and recording from 1951. ... Lloyd Price (born March 9, 1933 in Kenner, Louisiana) was an early rock and roll musician. ... Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American R&B/Rock and Roll and soul singer. ... Angola (also known as The Farm) is the Louisiana State Penitentiary and is estimated to be one of the largest prisons in the U.S. with 5,000 inmates and over 1,000 staff. ... For other uses, see Heroin (disambiguation). ... Antoine Dominique Fats Domino (born February 26, 1928) is a classic R&B and rock and roll singer, songwriter and pianist. ... Freddie King (September 3, 1934 – December 28, 1976) was an influential American blues guitarist and singer, best known for his recordings Hide Away, Have You Ever Loved A Woman and Going Down. // King was born Frederick Christian in Gilmer, Texas on September 3, 1934. ... Curtis Ousley (February 7, 1934– August 13, 1971), who performed under the name King Curtis, was an American tenor, alto, and soprano saxophonist who played rhythm and blues, soul, rock, and soul jazz. ... Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American R&B, Pop and Gospel singer, songwriter, and pianist. ... Aaron Thibeaux Walker or T-Bone Walker (May 28, 1910 - March 16, 1975) was an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the most influential musicians of the early 20th century. ... Richard Starkey Jr, MBE (born 7 July 1940), known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an Academy Award and Grammy Award winning English musician, singer, songwriter and actor, best known as the drummer of The Beatles. ... Maria Muldaur (Born Maria DAmato on September 12, 1943 in New York) is a roots-folk singer best known for her song Midnight at the Oasis. ... Geoff Muldaur is a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a member of Paul Butterfields Better Days, as well as an accomplished solo guitarist, singer, and songwriter. ... Labelle (with the b written in small caps, while the spelling LaBelle exclusively refers to the stage surname of the groups lead vocalist, Patti LaBelle) was an American R&B/soul group, who successfully melded disco with funk and glam rock, resulting in such memorable songs as Lady Marmalade... Jerome John Jerry the Bulldog Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American musician, songwriter, and artist best known for being the lead guitarist and vocalist of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead. ... For the photographer, see John Jabez Edwin Mayall. ...

James Booker would come into his own by the mid-1970’s and began the recordings for which he is primarily known. He had developed a style which is still difficult to categorize or define; he is recognized for his elaborate embellishments on the simplest of songs, and ability to turn the most tepid of material into a virtuoso masterpiece. He also did his own renditions of classical material. There is his "Booker riff" or "comp" which is most identified with him, which displays his New Orleans roots and the influence of Professor Longhair with the syncopated beat and rhythm which is indigenous to the music of the city. But that would be just his starting point from which he could take off. He had incredible feeling for the music he played, and the piano literally became an extension of the man. When Booker was "on,"[1] it was nothing short of wizardry. His keyboard dexterity, excellent timing, coupled with a flamboyant expression, are just the beginning. Riff is also an alternate spelling of Rif, a region of Morocco. ... Comping (an abbreviation of accompany) is the art of harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically supporting a jazz soloist with improvised chords. ... Professor Longhair (born Henry Roeland Byrd, also known as Roy Bald Head Byrd and as Fess) (December 19, 1918 - January 30, 1980) was a legendary New Orleans blues musician. ... In music, syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat in a bar or the failure to sound a tone on an accented beat. ...

While in Los Angeles in 1973 he recorded with a group of New Orleans players in what would be called The Lost Paramount Tapes. He was back in New Orleans in 1976, in Sea-Saint Studios for his album, Junco Partner which many consider to be his best solo studio effort. It was produced by Joe Boyd, who had previously recorded Booker on sessions for the Muldaurs' records.[2] There are a couple of releases that were recorded between 1974 and 1977 such as United Our Thing Will Stand and A Taste of Honey. Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... Joe Boyd (born August 5, 1942) is an American record producer. ...

During 1976 he played and toured with the Jerry Garcia Band.

Booker went to Europe in 1977, where he had good reputation based on Junco Partner, and was recognized there for his talent. Taking advantage of the situation he recorded several albums in Hamburg, and Zurich. These are King of the New Orleans Keyboard Vol. I & II, The Piano Prince of New Orleans and New Orleans Piano Wizard: Live!, the last of which was recorded at his performance in the "Boogie Woogie and Ragtime Piano Contest" in Zurich, Switzerland in 1977 and won the Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz. He played at the Nice and Montreux Jazz Festivals in 1978. Fourteen years later a recording in Leipzig from this tour would become the last ever record to be produced in the former GDR. It was entitled Let's Make A Better World!. This article is about the city in Germany. ... Location within Switzerland   Zürich[?] (German pronunciation IPA: ; usually spelled Zurich in English) is the largest city in Switzerland (population: 366,145 in 2004; population of urban area: 1,091,732) and capital of the canton of Zürich. ... The Grand Prix du Disque is the premier French award for musical recordings. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Montreux Jazz Festival is the best-known music festival in Switzerland. ... Leipzig ( ; Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk from the Sorbian word for Tilia) is, with a population of over 506,000, the largest city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. ... Disambiguation Page Global Depositary Receipt East Germany ...

Between the years of 1977 and 1982 he was the house pianist at the Maple Leaf Bar in the Carrollton neighborhood of uptown New Orleans, and John Parsons recorded Booker for posterity. These recordings were released as Spider on the Keys and Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah. The Maple Leaf Bar is a music performance venue in New Orleans, Louisiana. ... Carrollton is a neighborhood of uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. It is the part of uptown New Orleans furthest up river from the French Quarter. ... John Whiteside (Jack) Parsons (October 2, 1914–June 17, 1952), born Marvel Whiteside Parsons, was a rocket propulsion researcher at the California Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Aerojet Corporation. ...

By the end of 1982, he recorded Classified, which the producer, Scott Billington, states was recorded in four hours. This would be his last recording, Scott Billington (born October 27, 1951 in Melrose, Massachusetts) is an American Grammy award-winning producer, songwriter and blues musician. ...

James Booker died in New Orleans, on November 8, 1983, at Charity Hospital, where he was born. His death was widely mourned by music lovers. New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, United States of America. ... Charity Hospital is one of two teaching hospitals which are part of the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans (MCLNO). ...

Harry Connick Jr., a student and close friend of Booker, is probably his most renowned disciple. Connick, Henry Butler, and Dr. John, among others, have recorded songs with titles and musical styles referencing Booker. Harry Connick, Jr. ... Henry Butler (born c. ... Dr. John is the stage name of Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. ...

Transcriptions by Joshua Paxton of Booker's playing are available in "The James Booker Collection" and "New Orleans Piano Legends", both published by The Hal Leonard Corporation. Hal Leonard Corporation is a US sheet music publishing company. ...

In 2003 there was released a compilation of his songs performed by various pianists on Patchwork: A Tribute to James Booker.

The latest Booker album, released in June of 2007, is Manchester '77, which consists of a live performance recorded at The Lake Hotel, Belle Vue, Manchester in October of 1977. Belle Vue is a district of Manchester (post code M12), England between Longsight and Gorton. ... This article is about the City of Manchester in England. ...

(Portions of biography adapted from AllAboutJazz, http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=5177)


(Title, Release Date: Record Label)

Junco Partner, 1976: Island, 1993: Hannibal (re-issue)
The Piano Prince Of New Orleans, 1976: Aves
Blues & Ragtime From New Orleans, 1976: Aves
New Orleans Piano Wizard: Live!, 1977: Gold, 1983: Rounder (re-issue)
Classified, 1982: Demon, 1993: Rounder (re-issue)
King of New Orleans Keyboard Vol. I & II, 1984-1985: JSP, 2005: JSP (re-issue)
Mr. Mystery, 1984: Sundown
Let's Make A Better World!, 1991: Amiga
Resurrection Of The Bayou Maharajah, 1993: Rounder
Spiders On The Keys, 1993: Rounder
The Lost Paramount Tapes, 1995: DJM
More Than All The 45's, 1996: Night Train International
New Orleans Keyboard King, 1996: Orbis
Live At Montreux, 1997: Montreux Sounds
United Our Thing Will Stand, 2000: Night Train International
A Taste Of Honey, 2000: Night Train International
Manchester '77, 2007: Document

(Albums listed are with James Booker as main artist. For a complete discography which includes Booker's other album credits, see "External Links".)


"I'm better than all of 'em."

"Music is a mysterious art... and people that's really good at it... they get a little taste of the mysterious... sometimes mysticism, too. In fact, all of the time they have mystical, mysterious attributes, but it's whether or not they're aware of it that's important."

- James Booker


  1. ^ A musical colloquialism meaning 'in the groove' or simply on the stage.
  2. ^ All Music Guide - James Booker credits

External links

  Results from FactBites:
James Booker (2167 words)
James Carroll Booker III was born in New Orleans on December 17, 1939.
Booker's father died in 1953 and he was returned to New Orleans along with his sister to live with their mother.
Booker had somehow conned the producers into paying for their services three times and was pushing his luck with a fourth attempt.
James Booker at All About Jazz (1088 words)
James Carroll Booker III was born in New Orleans on December 17, 1939, son of a minister, who played piano.
James Booker would finally come into his own by the mid ‘70’s and began the recordings for which he is primarily known and judged by.
James Booker died in New Orleans, on November 8, 1983, at Charity Hospital, where he was born.
  More results at FactBites »



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