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The origin of the word jazz is one of the most sought-after word origins in modern American English. Interest in the word – the American Dialect Society named it the Word of the Twentieth Century in 2000 – has resulted in considerable research and the linguistic history is well documented. "Jazz" began as a West-Coast slang term around 1912. The meaning varied, but the word did not initially refer to music. "Jazz" came to mean "jazz music" in Chicago around 1915.
The similarity of "jazz" to "jasm", an obsolete slang term meaning spirit, energy, and vigor, and dated to 1860 in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (1979), suggests that "jasm" should be considered the leading candidate for the source of "jazz".
A link between the two words is supported by a February 18, 1916 article in the Daily Californian which used the spelling "jaz-m", although the context and other articles in the same newspaper from this period show that "jazz" was intended.
"Jasm" derives from or is a variant of the slang term "jism" or "gism", which the Historical Dictionary of American Slang dates to 1842 and defines as "spirit; energy; spunk." "Jism" also means semen or sperm, the meaning that predominates today, making "jism" a taboo word. Consistent with that etymology, the jazz composer Eubie Blake (b. 1887), when interviewed by a woman for Yale's Oral History of American Music project, refused to use the word "jazz" because he thought it was uncouth.[ citation needed ] Deepening the nexus among these words is the fact that "spunk" is also a slang term for semen and that "spunk"—like jism/jasm—also means spirit, energy, or courage (for example: "She showed a lot of spunk"). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, "jism" was still used in polite contexts. "Jism" or its variant "jizz" (which is not attested in the Historical Dictionary of American Slang until 1941) has also been suggested as a direct source for "jazz". A direct derivation from "jism" is phonologically unlikely. "Jasm" itself would be, according to this assumption, the intermediary form.
Compare the analogous relationship between the slang terms "spasm" 'a sudden burst of energy', as in spasm band , and "spaz(z)". Herbert Asbury names the "Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band", which appeared about 1895, as the first jazz band; he relates that a band of professional musicians who imitated their style and originally appeared, about 1900, under the same name, was, after the original Spasm Band turned up, billed as "Razzy Dazzy Jazzy Band".
One source draws from the book The French Quarter by Herbert Asbury for the claim that there was a band in New Orleans in 1895 named the "Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band". This source also claims a connection to the French verb jaser, meaning to chatter, and that "to jass" was heard in New Orleans to mean 'to excite' or 'to pep up'.
Baseball references were used by E.T. "Scoop" Gleeson in the San Francisco Bulletin.Dick Holbrook and Peter Tamony found articles written in Boyes Springs, California, where the San Francisco Seals baseball team was in training. In an article from March 3, 1913, "jazz" is synonymous with nonsense. George Clifford McCarl had been called a "busher", as in "bush league", meaning minor league or second rate. But Gleeson writes, on the contrary, "this dope is very much to the 'jazz'." Other uses occurred in "Everybody has come back to the old town full of the old 'jazz' and they promise to knock the fans off their feet with their playing." "What is the 'jazz'? Why, it's a little of that 'old life', the 'gin-i-ker', the 'pep', otherwise known as the enthusiasm". The article says that "members have trained on ragtime and 'jazz' and manager Del Howard says there's no stopping them." The context of the article shows that a musical meaning of "jazz" is not intended; rather, ragtime and "jazz" were both used as markers of ebullient spirit.
On April 5, 1913, the Bulletin published an article by Ernest J. Hopkins entitled "In Praise of 'Jazz,' a Futurist Word Which Has Just Joined the Language."The article, which used the spellings "jaz" and "jazz" interchangeably, discussed the term at length and included a positive definition.
"Jazz" (We change the spelling each time so as not to offend either faction) can be defined, but it cannot be synonymized. If there were another word that exactly expressed the meaning of "jaz," "jazz" would never have been born. A new word, like a new muscle, only comes into being when it has long been needed...This remarkable and satisfactory-sounding word, however, means something like life, vigor, energy, effervescence of spirit, joy, pep, magnetism, verve, virility ebulliency, courage, happiness – oh, what's the use? – Jazz.
In 2003, The Los Angeles Times reported on a librarian at New York University who said he found the word "jazz" used in a sports article from The New York Times of April 2, 1912. Under the headline "Ben's Jazz Curve" the article quotes baseball player Ben Henderson telling a reporter that he called his curve ball "the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it."
"Jazz" in the sense of pep and enthusiasm continued in use in California for several years before being submerged by its musical meaning. Barry Popik found examples from the Daily Californian and the Daily Palo Alto showing that "jazz" was a slang term at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1915 to 1917 and Stanford University from 1916 to 1918.
Dick Holbrook published his findings in Storyville magazine. These included William Demarest, an actor, saying he heard the word in 1908 as a young musician in San Francisco when the band was encouraged to play more energetically.Clarinetist Bud Jacobson said the word was used in Chicago to promote the Art Arseth band at the Arsonia Cafe in 1914. Fred R. Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations , found it applied to music in the Chicago Daily Tribune of July 11, 1915.
Blues Is Jazz and Jazz Is Blues...The Worm had turned – turned to fox trotting. And the "blues" had done it. The "jazz" had put pep into the legs that had scrambled too long for the 5:15....At the next place a young woman was keeping "Der Wacht Am Rhein" and "Tipperary Mary" apart when the interrogator entered. "What are the blues?" he asked gently. "Jazz!" The young woman's voice rose high to drown the piano....The blues are never written into music, but are interpolated by the piano player or other players. They aren't new. They are just reborn into popularity. They started in the south half a century ago and are the interpolations of darkies originally. The trade name for them is "jazz"....Thereupon "Jazz" Marion sat down and showed the bluest streak of blues ever heard beneath the blue. Or, if you like this better: "Blue" Marion sat down and jazzed the jazziest streak of jazz ever. Saxophone players since the advent of the "jazz blues" have taken to wearing "jazz collars," neat decollate things that give the throat and windpipe full play, so that the notes that issue from the tubes may not suffer for want of blues – those wonderful blues.
Examples in Chicago sources continued with the term reaching other cities by the end of 1916. By 1917 the term was in widespread use. The first known use in New Orleans, discovered by lexicographer Benjamin Zimmer in 2009, appeared in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on November 14, 1916:
Theatrical journals have taken cognizance of the "jas bands" and at first these organizations of syncopation were credited with having originated in Chicago, but any one ever having frequented the "tango belt" of New Orleans knows that the real home of the "jas bands" is right here. However, it remains for the artisans of the stage to give formal recognition to the "jas bands" of New Orleans. The day of the "Stage Workers" annual masquerade ball, which is November 23, the stage employes of the city are going to traverse the city led by a genuine and typical "jas band." Just where and when these bands, until this winter known only to New Orleans, originated, is a disputed question. It is claimed they are the outgrowth of the so-called "fish bands" of the lake front camps, Saturday and Sunday night affairs...However, the fact remains that their popularity has already reached Chicago, and that New York probably will be invaded next. But, be that as it may, the fact remains the only and original are to be found here and here alone. The "boys behind the scenes" have named their parade the "Jas parade." It's going to be an automobile affair with the actors and actresses of the various theaters right behind the band. The ball is to be at the Washington Artillery.
It is not clear who first applied "jazz" to music. A leading contender is Bert Kelly, a musician and bandleader who was familiar with the California slang term from being a banjoist with Art Hickman's orchestra. Kelly formed Bert Kelly's Jazz Band and claimed in a letter published in Variety on October 2, 1957, that he had begun using "the Far West slang word 'jazz,' as a name for an original dance band" in 1914. Kelly's claim is considered plausible but lacks contemporary verification, although Literary Digest wrote on April 26, 1919 "[t]he phrase 'jazz band' was first used by Bert Kelly in Chicago in the fall of 1915, and was unknown in New Orleans."
Trombonist Tom Brown led a New Orleans band in Chicago in 1915 and claimed his group was the first billed as a "jass" band. Slightly later was the Original Dixieland Jass Band or, in some accounts, a predecessor named Stein's Dixie Jass Band, allegedly so named by Chicago cafe manager Harry James. According to a November 1937 article in Song Lyrics , "A dance-crazed couple shouted at the end of a dance, 'Jass it up boy, give us some more jass.' Promoter Harry James immediately grasped this word as the perfect monicker for popularizing the new craze."
If the chronology of the Original Dixieland Jass Band is correct, it did not receive the "jass" name until March 3, 1916, which would be too late for it to be the originator. In a 1917 court case concerning song copyright, members of what became the O.D.J.B. testified under oath that the band played in Chicago under the name Stein's Dixie Jass Band.
In Volume II of its Supplement (1976) and hence in the 1989 Second Edition, the Oxford English Dictionary provided a 1909 citation for the use of "jazz" on a gramophone record of "Uncle Josh in Society." Researcher David Shulman demonstrated in 1989 that this attestation was an error based on a later version of the recording; the 1909 recording does not use the word "jazz". Editors acknowledged the error, and the revised entry of "jazz" in OED Online changed the date of this quotation with a note about mistake. But many secondary sources continue to show 1909 as the earliest known example of the word based on the OED's original entry.
The Grand Larousse Dictionnaire de la Langue Française and the Über englisches Sprachgut im Französischen cite a 1908 use of jazband, a jazz orchestra, in the Paris newspaper Le Matin . This is a typographical error for 1918.
In an 1831 letter, Lord Palmerston wrote in reference to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, of "old Talley jazzing and telling stories to Lieven and Esterhazy and Wessenberg." Scholars believe that Palmerston was not using "jazz" in any modern sense but was simply anglicizing French jaser in its standard meaning of chattering or chatting. No other examples of Palmerston's usage exists, thus ruling it out as an origin.
In an August 5, 1917 article from the New York Sun , Walter J. Kingsley claimed that "jaz" has an African origin. "In his studies of the Creole patois and idiom in New Orleans Lafcadio Hearn reported that the word "jaz," meaning to speed things up, to make excitement, was common among the blacks of the South, and had been adopted by the Creoles as a term to be applied to music of a rudimentary syncopated type." But recent searches of the works of Lafcadio Hearn failed to find any mention of the word. Lawrence Gushee argues that Kingsley's quote from Hearn is most likely fraudulent.
Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns in Jazz: A History of America's Music (2000) and Hilton Als in the New York Review of Books on March 27, 2003, suggest "jazz" comes from the jasmine perfume that prostitutes wore in the red-light district of New Orleans. This theory derives from the recollections of jazz musician Garvin Bushell as told to Mark Tucker in Jazz from the Beginning (1988). Bushell said that he heard this derivation in the circus where he began working in 1916. It appears to be a false etymology unsupported by evidence.[ citation needed ] Ward and Burns also suggested "jazz" derives from "jezebel", a nineteenth-century term for prostitute.
One story associates jazz with the first part of the word 'jasmine'. The French brought the perfume industry with them to New Orleans, and the oil of jasmine was a popular ingredient. To add it to a perfume was called "jassing it up." The strong scent was popular in the red-light district where a working girl might approach a prospective customer and say, "Is jazz on your mind tonight, young fellow?"
S. Frederick Starr states the same use of jezebel, rooted in the Old Testament. In New Orleans, the term was changed to "jazzbelle", with pimps or other males called "jazzbeau".
DuBose Heyward, author of "Porgy", in his book Jasbo Brown and Selected Poems (1924), states jazz may have taken its name from Jazbo Brown.
Kingsley claimed the phrase "jaz her up" was used by plantation slaves and that in common vaudeville usage "jaz her up" or "put in jaz" meant to accelerate or add low comedy, while "jazbo" meant "hokum".
Bandleader Art Hickman said "jazz" was named for the effervescent springs at Boyes Springs. He made the claim in the San Francisco Examiner of October 12, 1919 and San Francisco Chronicle of November 9, 1919.
|Look up jazz in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major form of musical expression in traditional and popular music, linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in European harmony and African rhythmic rituals.
The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a Dixieland jazz band that made the first jazz recordings in early 1917. Their "Livery Stable Blues" became the first jazz record ever issued. The group composed and recorded many jazz standards, the most famous being "Tiger Rag". In late 1917, the spelling of the band's name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
Skiffle is a genre of folk music with influences from blues, jazz, and American folk music, generally performed with a mixture of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a form in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, it became extremely popular in the UK in the 1950s, where it was played by such artists as Lonnie Donegan, The Vipers Skiffle Group, Ken Colyer, and Chas McDevitt. Skiffle was a major part of the early careers of some musicians who later became prominent jazz, pop, blues, folk, and rock performers, The Beatles and Rory Gallagher amongst them. It has been seen as a critical stepping stone to the second British folk revival, the British blues boom, and the British Invasion of American popular music.
Dominic James "Nick" LaRocca, was an American early jazz cornetist and trumpeter and the leader of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. He is the composer of one of the most recorded jazz classics of all-time, "Tiger Rag". He was part of what is generally regarded as the first recorded jazz band, a band which recorded and released the first jazz recording, "Livery Stable Blues" in 1917.
Emile Joseph Christian was an early jazz trombonist; he also played cornet and string bass. He also wrote a number of tunes, including "Meet Me At the Green Goose", "Satanic Blues", and "Mardi Gras Parade".
Alcide Patrick Nunez, also known as Yellow Nunez and Al Nunez, was an American jazz clarinetist. He was one of the first musicians of New Orleans to make audio recordings.
Tom Brown, sometimes known by the nickname Red Brown, was an early New Orleans dixieland jazz trombonist. He also played string bass professionally.
Jazz standards are musical compositions that are an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners. There is no definitive list of jazz standards, and the list of songs deemed to be standards changes over time. Songs included in major fake book publications and jazz reference works offer a rough guide to which songs are considered standards.
A spasm band is a musical group that plays a variety of Dixieland, trad jazz, jug band, or skiffle music.
"Tiger Rag" is a jazz standard that was recorded and copyrighted by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. It is one of the most recorded jazz compositions. In 2003, the 1918 recording of "Tiger Rag" was entered into the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry.
New Orleans blues is a subgenre of blues that developed in and around the city of New Orleans, influenced by jazz and Caribbean music. It is dominated by piano and saxophone, but also produced guitar bluesmen. Major figures in the genre include Professor Longhair and Guitar Slim, who both had regional, R&B and even mainstream chart hits.
The music of New Orleans assumes various styles of music which have often borrowed from earlier traditions. New Orleans, Louisiana, is especially known for its strong association with jazz music, universally considered to be the birthplace of the genre. The earliest form was dixieland, which has sometimes been called traditional jazz, 'New Orleans', and 'New Orleans jazz'. However, the tradition of jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether. New Orleans has also been a prominent center of funk, home to some of the earliest funk bands such as The Meters.
"See See Rider", also known as "C.C. Rider", "See See Rider Blues" or "Easy Rider", is a popular American 12-bar blues song that became a standard in several genres. Gertrude "Ma" Rainey was the first to record it on October 16, 1924, at Paramount Records in New York. The song uses mostly traditional blues lyrics to tell the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called an "easy rider": "See see rider, see what you have done", making a play on the word "see" and the sound of "easy".
"Livery Stable Blues" is a jazz composition copyrighted by Ray Lopez (né Raymond Edward Lopez; 1889–1979) and Alcide Nunez in 1917. It was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band on February 26, 1917, and, with the A side "Dixieland Jass Band One-Step" or "Dixie Jass Band One-Step", became widely acknowledged as the first jazz recording commercially released. It was recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York City at its studio at 46 West 38th Street on the 12th floor – the top floor.
Bert Kelly was an American musician, who pioneered jazz as a banjoist, bandleader, educator, promoter, night club owner, and night club operator. After professional stints in Seattle and San Francisco, Kelly moved to Chicago in 1914 where he flourished a banjoist, bandleader, and promoter. In 1915 — before the U.S. prohibition — he founded and operated a Chicago speakeasy called "Bert Kelly's Stables," where patrons were introduced to early jazz.
Dixieland, sometimes referred to as traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. The 1917 recordings by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, fostered awareness of this new style of music.
Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band may refer to:
The Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band was an early New Orleans band regarded by some as the first jazz band. The band was a group of young street urchins led by Emile "Stalebread Charlie" Lacoume. Other members of the group were Harry Gregson, Emile "Whiskey" Benrod, Willie "Cajun" Bussey, Frank "Monk" Bussey and a boy known only as "Warm Gravy." They also had another member who was known as "Chinee" and a singer known as "Family Haircut." This band performed in the streets of Storyville in the 1890s and early 1900s. According to a 1936 book by the crime writer Herbert Asbury, when another band appropriated their name and musical style for a performance at the Haymarket Dancehall, the original band members pelted the stage with rocks, leading the venue's owner to change the name of the second band on all advertising to the Razzy Dazzy Jazzy Band, which some claim is the first time the word jazz was used in connection with music.
The Jazz Discography is a print, CD-ROM, and online discography and sessionography of all categories of recorded jazz — and directly relevant precursors of recorded jazz from 1896. The publisher, Lord Music Reference Inc., a British Columbia company, is headed by Tom Lord and is based in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. The initial 26 of 35 print volumes, which comprise the discography, were issued from 1992 to 2001 in alphabetic order. In 2002, The Jazz Discography became the first comprehensive jazz discography on CD-ROM.
"Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step" also known as "Dixie Jass Band One-Step" and "Original Dixieland One-Step" is a 1917 jazz composition by the Original Dixieland Jass Band released as an instrumental as a Victor 78. The song is a jazz milestone as the first commercially released "jass" or jazz song.