[Ads-l] Correction of First Use of Musical "Jazz"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 23 11:44:36 UTC 2019

Fred Shapiro wrote:
> I believe that the earliest known use of the word "jazz" referring to a
> musical genre is Chicago Tribune, July 11, 1915, discovered by me.
> But the OED includes a citation for the combination "jazz blues" from
> the Chicago Tribune, Apr. 2, 1915.  I believe this is an error.  The
> correct dating for the "jazz blues" occurrence is July 11, 1915, in the
> same article in which "jazz" makes its first musical appearance.

The citation in the OED that Fred is discussing seems to be the following:

[Begin OED excerpt]
jazz, n. and adj.
  C1. attributive.
    b. Designating types of music which combine elements of jazz and
another musical genre, as jazz blues, jazz funk, jazz rap, jazz-rock,

1915   Chicago Sunday Tribune 2 Apr. viii. 8/1   Saxophone players
since the advent of the ‘jazz blues’ have taken to wearing ‘jazz
[End OED excerpt]

The above citation is certainly suspicious because April 2, 1915 is a
Friday, but the citation specifies "Chicago Sunday Tribune".

Ben Zimmer clipped an article in the Chicago Tribune dated July 11,
1915 that contains text in the final paragraph that matches the
citation above. This may be the article Fred located.



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

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