[Ads-l] Another "Jazz" Origin

Wed Aug 22 12:20:50 EDT 2018

Here's another supposed origin of "jazz," from the (Baltimore) Afro-American, Oct. 6, 1917 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers).  The unsigned article is captioned "Now It Is the Jazz," and the first sentence reads "The Jazz music and the Jazz dance have been with us for nearly a year."  Here's the theory on the origin:

<<Most recently it has been discovered that the word in Creole patois of New Orleans means "speeding up things."  Imported there from Haiti and Cuba, it is supposed to have originated in West Africa.  The savage medicine man is thot to have goaded his tribe to frenzy by the use of it.  Eventually it reached New Orleans and survived there for several generations in the underworld resorts.  Gradually it ascended the Mississippi to Chicago, and then branched out in both directions toward the oceans, gaining a national popularity.>>

I believe only the first sentence is about the word origin, the remainder of the paragraph addressing the supposed origin of the music itself, but it's included for context.

John Baker

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

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