"Jazz Means Happy and Loose Like" (1917)
bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Dec 3 17:11:32 UTC 2007
On Dec 3, 2007 11:56 AM, Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> Interesting item from America's Historical Newspapers...
> Morning Olympian (Olympia, Wash.), July 1, 1917, p. 1, col. 1
> Jazz Means Happy and Loose Like.
> It's a Lovely Syncopated, Care Free Feeling.
> Many guesses and opinions have been offered as to the meaning of the
> word "Jazz," since Raymond Ballard's Jazz Orchestra played at the Red
> Cross ball last Thursday evening.
> Regarding the word, its acceptance by the public and its meaning, Mr.
> Ballard said yesterday: "Jazz music is simply the natural, happy
> expression of syncopated music. The word is also used to express the
> meaning of a mixture or a jumble, and its application in that sense to
> dance music. [illegible] the ability of the musicians to [illegible]
> mix it up [illegible] and all kinds of liberties with it, yet at the
> same time to maintain a perfect rhythm and perfect harmony.
> "'Jazz' musicians absolutely must feel the spirit of it and play
> because they like to play, else they cease to be 'Jazz' musicians, and
> paradoxical as it may seem, they must possess musical talent and
> "In the south when a darky meets another darky and says 'How's you
> feelin' this mornin' Rastus?' and Rastus replies: 'I's feelin' mighty
> jazz' he means that he's very happy. And that's about all there is to
> 'Jazz,' but it's a whole lot!"
The same article was printed the following day in the Olympia Daily
Recorder, which provides the illegible sentence above:
"The word is also used to express the meaning of a mixture or a
jumble, and its application in that sense to dance music, lies in the
ability of the musicians to add to the melody, mix it up, turn it
around; in fact, take any and all kinds of liberties with it, yet at
the same time to maintain a perfect rhythm and perfect harmony."
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
More information about the Ads-l