Manzana (January 1966); "New York" & "New England" in maps

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Apr 3 02:06:07 UTC 2003


   Robert S. Gold's JAZZ LEXICON (1962) is in the NYU Bobst Library.  It was his Ph.D. thesis paper, and it became a book in 1964.
   This is from JAZZ TALK (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1975) by Robert S. Gold, pg. 4:

_apple (big)_ (...)
   1966 _Record Research_, June, pg. 7.  My suspicion (is) that _Big Apple_ is a (Pg. 5--ed.) transliteration of the older Mexican idiom "Manzana principale" for the main square of the town of the downtown area.

   Because Michael Quinion was interested, I rechecked RECORD RESEARCH.  The citation's wrong. It's worth quoting at length.  From RECORD RESEARCH, _January_ 1966, pg. 7:

   If anyone wanted to take JAZZ LEXIKON (sic) apart, he could do a far job using only the legends on phonograph records as the source for words and phrases used in specific connotation by jazz and bluesmen.  For exmple, Gold omits HEEBIE JEEBIES which could be defined with another title: jangles nerves.  He overlooks ROCKS IN MY BED as the kind of blues which causes insomnia, and that DOWN TO THE BRICKS means either 1) broke or 2) disconsolate, depending on context.  He includes most of the miscellaneous instruments, but forgot the GOOFUS.  He didn't recognize a BUFFET FLAT as a musical speakeasy (anyway invariably food, usually music).  His definition of "struggle" did not include the meaning implied when Oliver immortalized the infirm second-hand auto with the appelation STRUGGLE BUGGY.  While listing the inferior "stick", "reefer" and even ignoble "roach", Gold does Mezz and history an injustice in omitting the king-size MEZZ.
   Gold is rich in vulgarities, but on naughty words, he is vague (ill-informed?) and embarrassed.  See his sparse and inaccurate definition of a "fruit" and of the suffix "-assed".  On sexualia he is weak too.  Appelations are quickly spread after they get onto a record label.  A warm "jellyroll" is also a WARM VALLEY, CONGAINE, BEEDLE UM BUM, and MOJO.  However, to Muddy Waters it seems that a mojo may be a BLACK SNAKE or what Cab called a trilon, and there are two of them in WANG wang Blues.  Perhaps Gold is safer in not even trying to clarify Horace Henderson's KITTY ON TOAST, or the implication of BOY IN THE BOAT.
   Gold mentions a lof of the dances which are named on record labels including the cake and camel walk, but not the LAMBETH or CASTLE.  He mentions the big apple, and drag, and walking the dog and the scrontch (according to Waller) which he spells s-c-r-a-u-n-c-h, with some basis for so-doing.  But he calls the scrontch a drag or mooch and that hardly seems to describe the bent-knee and wiggled-rump figure I have seen or the tempo that Waller uses.  (Does Scrontch derive from "squat" and "hunch"?).  He didn't include HUNCH or POSIN', the hesitation figure, and he didn't observe that a SKUFFLE was a 1) generic term for dancing, or 2) when used as a verb, it related to JOBBING with so-so sucess.  The TEXAS TOMMY is lacking; and it is omitted that those who dance these jazz dances are HOOFERS.  When Billy and Mary Mack's Merrymakers' hoofers criss-crossed each other, the dance was called a TWINE.
   In addition some jazzical terms are omitted which do not necessarily appear on phonograph records.  Although he includes "spades" and "ofays", there are no JIGS or CHARLIES.  At least locally, GAGGED signifies playing below par as when "juiced" or "high" or "dragged"; but even when the word is included in LEXICON, juiced is not clearly distinguished from high, and dragged does not clearly state fatigued or bored, as I mean to imply.
   And if Gold is to include interjections such as "yeah, man" and "oowee", I petition for inclusion in the next edition HOY (from Lambeth Walk), HOTCHA, and maybe SHOOT THE LIKKER TO ME, JOHN-BOY.  Some meanings are given for "blast", but to a musician a blast is also a telephone call.
   I can see why Gold might prefer to leave MAINSTEM to a theatrical lexicographer, despite its being a jazz title; and why he might assign MAINLINER to a junky monographer.  But I would be grateful to him if he would confirm or deny my suspicion that BIG APPLE is a transliteration of the older Mexican idion "mazana principal" for the main square of the town or the downtown area.
   A "face" is more than Gold says, that is, he is less than Gold says; he is an anonymous nobody, a musician of underdeveloped or limited talent.  Bechet wouldn't have clled him a MUSICIANER.
   Only lately Ink Williams explained to me that the C. C. PILL extended the ecstacy and potency of the C. C. (or See See) rider, but Gold doesn't tell you--and I must apologize because I can't--whether the gouge (an overpriced dame) of Armour Avenue whom the rider met on his (be)fo' day(break) CREEP (hence, he was a creep or creeper) was a floogie (flatfooted and/or dual floy'd).

   This invented the Big Apple "manzana theory."  John Ciardi, writing in the 1970s in the SATURDAY REVIEW and in a letter to THE NEW YORK TIMES, added that it was used by jazz musicians of New Orleans around 1910.  There never was any evidence--it was all guessing.  I have NEW YORK MORNING TELEGRAPH "Big Apple" citations from Tijuana (Mexico) and Santa Anita (California, "the Big Apple of the West").  "Manzana" was not used in those articles.
   For the record, an earlier "manzana" is this:

Title: The big apple :
fox trot = La manzana grande /
Author(s): Wright, Edythe,; d. 1965. ; (Vocalist - voc); Dorsey, Tommy,; 1905-1956. ; (Performer - prf); Waller, Fats,; 1904-1943. ; (Performer - prf)
Corp Author(s): Clambake Seven (Musical group). ; (Performer - prf); Rhythm (Musical group). ; (Performer - prf)
Publication: Camden, N.J. :; Victor,
Year: 1937, 1936
Description: 1 sound disc :; analog, 78 rpm, mono. ;; 10 in.
Language: English
Music Type: Multiple forms; Jazz; Dance forms
Standard No: Publisher: 25652; Victor
Descriptor: Jazz -- 1931-1940.
Note(s): Participants: Edythe Wright, vocal, Tommy Dorsey, Clambake Seven (side A) ; Fats Waller, piano, Rhythm (side B)./ Recorded in New York, Aug. 13, 1937 (side A) and June 8, 1936 (side B)--Cf. Jazz records, 1897-1942 / Rust, c1978.
Other Titles: Manzana grande.; Fractious fingering.; Dedos resbalosos.
Responsibility: Buddy Bernier, Bob Emmerick ; [performed by] Tommy Dorsey & his Clambake Seven. Fractious fingering : fox trot = Dedos resbalosos / Thomas Waller ; [performed by] "Fats" Waller and his Rhythm
Material Type: Music (msr); 78 rpm (78s)
Document Type: Sound Recording
Entry: 19940308
Update: 20020218
Accession No: OCLC: 29927679
Database: WorldCat


   I went to the NYPL map division (I also went to SIBL to find that my offsite ORGANIC GARDENING books hadn't arrived--three NYPL branches in one day) to check out "New York" and "New England" on maps.  It's earlier than the Early English Books Online citations:

by Paul E. Cohen and Robert T. Augustyn
New York: Rizzoli

Pg. 20:
Date Depicted: 1610
Date Drawn: 1610
(...)  On the map, versions of Manhattan's present name (_Manahatn_ and _Manhatta_) appear for the first time.
   (OED has revised its "Manhattan" entry and the first citation is 1816.  In the etymology section of the definition, 1625 is cited--ed.)

Pg. 44:
The Towne of New-York
Date Depicted: c. 1664-68
Date Drawn: c. 1664-68
Pg. 45:  The inset plan in the upper right corner, entitled "The Towne of New-York," is the earliest instance of the use of the new name on a map.
   (OED revision?--ed.)

1513 TO 1800
Compiled by Barbara Backus McCorkle
Providence: John Carter Brown Library

Pg. 16:  Map 614.1
   "A Desciption of New England"
   Observed and described by Captayn John Smith, 1614.

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