Query: Earliest attestation of "Razzy Dazzy Jazzy Band"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Sep 3 18:04:19 UTC 2011

On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 1:34 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM, Gerald Cohen <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:
>> >> David Gold's 2009 book Studies in Etymology and Etiology (non-comittally)
>> >> reproduces a 1989 item which derives the term "jazz" from a New Orleans
>> >> "Razzy Dazzy Jazzy Band."
> No trace of a "razzy dazzy jazzy" anything in NewspaperArchive, ProQuest
> Historical Newspapers, Gale 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, the Old Fulton NY
> Post Cards site, or the L of C Chronicling America site.
> Likewise for "razzy jazzy dazzy," etc.
> Herbert Asbury's _The Latin Quarter_ (1936) alleges the following:

I've also looked into this to no avail. Daniel Hardie's _Exploring
Early Jazz_ has a cite from a 1919 letter to the New York Dramatic
Mirror talking about the Razzy Dazzy *Spasm* Band, of which the Razzy
Dazzy Jazzy Band was supposedly an offshoot, but even the letter
writer wasn't sure if that had anything to do with the origin of the
word "jazz".


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list