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Jazz - one more theory

Posted by ESC on January 16, 2004

In Reply to: All that jazz posted by ESC on January 16, 2004

: : Hi
: : Daughter doing an essay and oral on "All that Jazz". Looking for exact meaning and origin if anyone has any idea
: : Thanks

: I don't have any information on the phrase "all that jazz." I assume you know about the show and movie. Here's is some information on the word "jazz":

: JAZZ/JIVE - "Jazz, lies, exaggeration, cajolery, 1918; jive, with the same meaning, about 1921. The word 'jazz' was first recorded in New Orleans in the 1870s both as a verb, meaning to become faster, more exciting, or frenetic, and as a noun, referring to a form of syncopated music; by 1913 it generally meant a style of ragtime (the word seems to be of West African or Creole origin, though no root form or cognate has been found). 'Jive' seems to have appeared in Chicago around 1921 as a black term for lies, exaggeration, or cajolery (no one knows where the word came from; it could have been a pronunciation of 'jibe'). In 1928 two jazz records appeared using 'jive' in their titles, Cow Cow Davenport's 'State Street Jive' and Louis Armstrong's 'Don't Jive Me,' the word 'jive' then slowly becoming associated with such use and meaning swing music by 1937. Thus, jazz music came before jazz talk, but jive talk came before and helped name jive music." From "

: Another reference says that "jazz was first a verb for sexual intercourse."

: The author presents several theories on the origin of the word "jazz." They are that jazz came from:
: Jazz, the nickname for Jasper, a dancing New Orleans slave, around 1825, who was stirred to a faster pace by people saying, "Come on, Jazz!"

: Mr. Razz, a band conductor in New Orleans in 1904.

: Charles "Chaz" Washington, a ragtime drummer in Vicksburg, Mississippi, around 1895.

: Charles "Chas." Alexander, Vicksburg, around 1910, the leader of Alexander's Ragtime Band.

: Various words including the African "chasse" dance step or "jaiza" for "the sound of distant drums"; Arab "Fazib," "one who allures"; Hindu "jazha," "ardent desire."
: From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997), Page 367.

Another theory from a third source: Jazz "not only refers to the music, but is used as a verb meaning 'to speed up, to excite, to act uninhibited. Possibly from Mandingo 'jasi,' literally, 'to act out of the ordinary.' Originally, 'jazz' referred to sexual activity." From "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, N.Y., 1994). Page 145.