Fwd (from Norm Cohen):"jazz"

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Apr 3 16:07:24 UTC 2003

Keppard/Kepperd/Kepard/Keperd and several other possible misspellings don't show up in the Historical NYTimes from the 1910s.  "Elaine & Her Creole Band" played at an All-Star Theatrical Benefit at the Shubert Theater, W44th, on May 21, 1916, advertized (in small type) on May 19 & 21.  I have friends at the Shubert ARchive & will ask them whether they have any information of Elaine, esp. whether her Creole Band played jazz or whether Keppard ever played the Shubert chain, calling his music jazz.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Cohen <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2003 9:27 pm
Subject: Fwd (from Norm Cohen):"jazz"

>   Norm Cohen (no relation) recently sent me a message about "jazz",
> and with his permission I present it below my signoff.  It pertains
> to the early attestations of "jazz" in a musical sense.
>   OED gives 1917 as the earliest attestation of "jazz" in a musical
> sense; (set aside the 1909 example as an error).  Meanwhile, Irving
> Lewis Allen, _The City In Slang_, 1993, p.71, citing Gunther
> Schuller's 1968 _Early Jazz..._, says: "In 1915 jazz was introduced
> to New Yorkers in a vaudeville theater by Freddie Keppard's Creole
> Band, but few took notice."
> Gerald Cohen
> >From: "Norm Cohen" <ncohen at teleport.com>
> >To: "Cohen, Gerald" <gcohen at umr.edu>
> >Subject: "jazz"
> >Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 08:32:52 -0800
> >
> >Gerald:
> >I came across the following reference to "jass," which while not
> earth>shaking provides more evidence for its use in 1916.
> >"According to the _Chicago Defender_, in October 1916 African
> American>entertainer Estelle Harris was performing Spencer
> Williams's tune
> >"Sihim-Me-Sha-Wabble" with her "jass [sic] singers and dancers"
> at the South
> >Side's Grand Theater, located just across the street from the
> Elite No. 1."
> >footnote reference:  Chicago Defender, Sept. 30, 1916, and Oct.
> 14, 1916.
> >This from an article by Rebecca A. Bryant, "Shaking Things Up:
> Popularizing>the Shimmy in America," in American Music v. 20 no. 2
> (Summer 2002),168-187.
> >The above quote is on p 170.  The "sic" is hers.
> >Norm

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