Jazz music--did it really originate in brothels?

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Sun Nov 2 15:25:09 UTC 2003

    Bill Crow's book _Jazz Anecdotes_ (Oxford U. Pr., 1990), p. 22,
presents an interesting item which challenges the traditional view
that jazz music arose in the brothels of New Orleans (The origin of
the term "jazz" is often associated with those brothels, even though
no evidence exists that the term was actually used there prior to its
1912-1913 attestations in a baseball context). Crow's book says:

        '...Sidney Bechet contradicts the myth of Storyville as the
cradle of jazz:
        "People have got an idea that the music started in
whorehouses.  Well, there was a district. there, you know, and the
houses in it, they'd all have someone playing a guitar or a mandolin,
or a piano...[these 3 dots are present in Bill Crow's book] someone
singing, maybe;  but they didn't have orchestras, and the musicianers
never played regular there.  The musicianers would go to those houses
just whenever they didn't have a regular engagement, when there was
no party or picnic or ball to play at.  But in those days there was
always some party going, some fish fry, and there was always some
picnic around the lakes."

Gerald Cohen

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