Solo performer: James Booker (vocals, piano).
Recorded at the Boogie Woodie and Ragtime Piano Contest, Zurich, Switzerland on November 27, 1977. Originally released on Gold Records (11035). Includes liner notes by Jeff "Almost Slim" Hannusch.
Recorded in Switzerland in 1977, this live set showcases the staggering, multi-directional talents of James Booker, a New Orleans musician known as the "Piano Prince" and "The Black Liberace." Though he's part of a lineage of rhythmically inventive Crescent City pianists that includes Jelly Roll Morton and Professor Longhair, few have equaled Booker's musical scope and technical mastery.
Though Booker's recombinant artistry seems almost postmodern in concept, the skill and ease with which he pulls it all together, not to mention the deep feeling communicated in his keening, gospel-tinged tenor, keeps it all seeming as down-home as a backyard crawfish boil. NEW ORLEANS PIANO WIZARD- LIVE!
features nine high-energy solo performances including standards ("On the Sunny Side of the Street;" "Come Rain or Come Shine"), ragtime workouts ("Keep on Gwine"), pop songs ("Please Send Me Somebody to Love"), and blues numbers ("Black Night;" "Come in My House"). Booker's spectacular keyboard attack, distinguished by his rollicking stride style, his ornamental, classically-influenced embellishments and his deep blues left hand rolls and bass lines, is everywhere in evidence on this recording.