1916 cites for "jazz" (Day Book, Daily Illini)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Jan 31 21:29:28 UTC 2013

Here are some cites from the last few months of 1916 for the musical
sense of "jaz(z)"/"jass", from two Illinois newspapers: _The Day Book_
of Chicago and _The Daily Illini_ of Champaign. A couple of modest
antedatings in here: 10/4/16 for "jaz(z) tune" (OED 8/19/17), and
10/20/16 for "jazziness" (OED 5/17/19).

1916 Sep 29 _Day Book_ 29/1 Hundreds of dancers in the Hotel Walton of
Philadelphia were startled when four staccato shots broke the creepy
rhythm of a "jaz" band Wednesday morning.

1916 Oct 4 _Daily Illini_ 6 (advt.) Malapert, Moore, Hoult and Selzer
in a tip-top musical act featuring the jazziest of all jaz tunes,
played on the banjo, guitar, saxaphone, violin and piano.

1916 Oct 7 _Day Book_ 2/2 On a floor so crowded that couples can't
move around hundreds just stand in a spot and shake themselves up and
down to the sensuous rhythm of a jaz band.

1916 Oct 18 _Day Book_ 4/1 First jass band in Chicago at Schiller. ...
The strains of a jass band were heard.

1916 Oct 20 _Daily Illini_ 6/1 These two boys are certainly masters of
instrumental ragtime, the one playing a rag piano and the other a jaz
violin of rampant jazziness and ragginess.

1916 Nov 17 _Day Book_ 7/2 Not less than 500 times did brass bands
line up and blow out melody for Hughes and Lowden at $100 a day. Cost
of this brass and jass was not less than $50,000.

1916 Nov 17 _Daily Illini_ 8/1 "Malapert's Jaz Band," as the committee
calls it, will furnish a little harmony and syncopation.

1916 Nov 23 _Day Book_ 2/1 Above the roar of the jaz band a gun sputtered.

1916 Nov 26 _Daily Illini_ 1/1 Songs, music by the band a number of
"jaz orchestras," all kinds of entertainment -- and no tiresome
speeches: such is his promise.

1916 Dec 23 _Day Book_ 4/1 Ald. Toman, chairman of the license
commission and recognized leader of the "wets" in the city council, is
coming in for criticism from the rank and file of the saloonkeepers
who operated their places without the attractions of a jazz band and

And for the sake of completeness, here are two cites for _jaz_ meaning 'pep':

1916 Mar 7 _Daily Illini_ 5 (advt.) You'll find me over t'the Haven
getting some of the ol' jaz back 'round a game of rotation.

1916 Nov 8 _Daily Illini_ 5 (advt.) The Savarona is made of the weed
grown up in the mountainous districts of Porto Rico -- where the sun
and wind puts the ol' jaz and ginger into the leaf.

Ben Zimmer

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

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