Anyone who calls themselves a devotee of Sidney Bechet, the soprano sax wizard and one of the originators of New Orleans Jazz, will know his song “Georgia Cabin” as an example of one of his prettiest melodies. What they may not know is that this song also has lyrics. Eighty years after Bechet’s iconic 1941 recording, reedman & vocalist Evan Arntzen has recorded the song — with the lyrics — for the first time.
Arntzen learned the song from his Grandfather, Lloyd Arntzen (now 93-years-young), who is also a clarinettist and soprano saxophonist inspired by the style of Bechet and other New Orleans greats. Lloyd can’t remember where he learned the lyrics penned by Bechet’s friend and collaborator, Mary Karoley, but Evan has heard him deliver vocals on this song ever since he can remember.
Arntzen renders “Georgia Cabin” in his own voice (both on vocals and soprano saxophone) and hopes it will add a new dimension to this classic song for listeners previously unaware of the lyric’s existence. Also worth noting: keep an eye on the soprano Evan plays in the music video. It’s a hundred-year-old Beuscher, just a few serial numbers away from the horn Bechet played.
Check out “Georgia Cabin” and more on the recently released Countermelody (Dot Time Records), which will be available as a vinyl LP on July 9th.