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December 17, 1939 - November 8, 1983
James Booker (piano & vocals) performs live at the 1978 Montreux Jazz Festival.
Born in New Orleans, James Booker as a pianist who applied his R&B piano to a diverse variety of material including jazz standards.
Although his mother gave him a saxophone as a gift, he had much more interest in the keyboard, playing organ in the Baptist Church and learning from the piano stylings of Tuts Washington and Edward Frank.
Booker enrolled as an undergraduate in Southern University's music department during the late '50s where he developed the classical background reflected in his playing.
In 1954 James Booker made his first recordings "Doin' the Hambone" and "Thinkin' 'Bout My Baby" for Imperial.
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