[Ads-l] Lewis Porter on the origins of "jazz"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 7 21:02:33 UTC 2019

Last year, jazz historian Lewis Porter wrote a piece for WGBO on the
origins of the word "jazz":


I was in touch with him after that to share my own research -- including on
Bert Kelly, who may have been the one to bring "jazz" from San Francisco
baseball circles to Chicago musical circles. Porter has now followed up
with another post, expressing some skepticism about Kelly's role in
originating the word.


Porter's latest post includes some other material I dug up: scans of ads
for Tom Brown's band in the Chicago Examiner from May 1915. The ad from May
22 calls the band a "jad orchestra," but on May 26 "jad" is gone and it's
just called "Brown's Band." These ads are mentioned Laurence Gushee's book
"Pioneers of Jazz" (and the first one gets a bracketed cite in the OED's
"jazz" entry), but fortunately the Examiner is now digitized for 1915 so
you can see them for yourself.

May 22 ("The Original Jad Orchestra"):
May 26 ("Brown's Band"):


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

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