Bert Kelly's Jaz Band (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Sep 15 14:11:20 UTC 2010

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> >
> >        So it remains the case that "jazz" almost certainly came from
> > the West Coast, probably derived from "jasm," and may well have been
> > introduced by Bert Kelly.  However, Tom Brown's Band is the earliest
> > documented example and probably was calling itself a jazz band by
> > so Kelly's claim is unproven at best.  After all, Kelly may have
been at
> > Boyes Springs, but there were plenty of people who had been on the
> > Coast and read their newspapers.
> And they didn't even have to be on the West Coast, since they could
> have read a widely syndicated June 1913 article on "city slang,"
> explaining that "out in San Francisco the most popular word is 'the
> old jazz.'" We know that one version was published in the Fort Wayne
> Sentinel and the Idaho Daily Statesman, and another version in the
> Duluth News Tribune. No doubt many other papers picked it up.
> --bgz

While this explanation is certainly possible, it seems unlikely.  I just
cant picture jazz musicians (who embody the ultimate in what we now call
"cool") picking up slang from a newspaper article (a vector which would
be the ultimate in "anti-cool").  Much more plausible that the word was
picked up in person somehow.
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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