Old Rugged Cross Lewis George 1962
George Lewis plays Old Rugged Cross during a performance in Japan in 1962.
George Lewis (13 July 1900 -- 31 December 1968) was an American jazz clarinetist who achieved his greatest fame and influence in his later decades of life. He was born in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Lewis was playing clarinet professionally by 1917. He played with Buddie Petit, Chris Kelly regularly, and sometimes with Kid Ory and many other band leaders, seldom traveling far from the greater New Orleans area.
In 1942 some jazz fans and writers came to New Orleans to record the legendary older trumpeter Bunk Johnson, and Bunk picked Lewis for the recording session. Lewis, almost totally unknown outside of New Orleans, impressed many listeners, and he made his first recordings under his own name for American Music Records.
The Burgundy Street Blues was titled by Russell (who also created new names for a number of Lewis's interpretations of old pop tunes). It was originally simply an improvised blues based on figures from the records of Louis Armstrong.