[Dixielandjazz] Jazz - the word

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Sat Jun 30 17:16:35 PDT 2007

> For those interested n the etymology of "jazz," see
> http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/site/comments/jazz/

Dear Gordon,
Well, I'm certainly surprised that not one DJMLer has so far commented 
on the 'new' theory raised in the above link.
As I'm sure you are.
Th involvement of dance music on the Barbary Coast, San Francisco and 
the Art Hickman band around 1910-13 is not new and was raised in Tom 
Stoddard's book 'Jazz on The Barbary Coast' (Storyville Publications. 
Refer page 131 which cites the first use of the word in print, as 
applied to music, in the San Francisco 'Bulletin' newspaper on 6 March 
1913. This book also includes a lot of the information cited in the 
above link.
There is also a reference to the 1910 (actually 8 Nov 1908) Victor 
16145 Cal Stewart recording of "Uncle Josh in Society" which includes 
the word 'jazz' in connection with a dance.
This claim has been demolished by writer Tim Gracyk's "The Encyclopedia 
Of Popular American Recording Pioneers: 1895 - 1925" where he says: 
"Because Stewart cut some of the same monologues for various companies, 
studying different takes for variations in delivery is easy- however, 
the variations made by Stewart are rarely significant. One noteworthy 
exception was a change made to "Uncle Josh in Society". A take that was 
cut on November 9, 1908 was on double- sided Victor 16145. He cut a new 
take of the monologue for Victor on July 31, 1919, and the new take was 
issued on discs bearing the old catalog number. In the 1919 version he 
states, "One lady asked me if I danced the jazz, and I told her, no, I 
danced with my feet". Some listeners have concluded that this use of 
"jazz" on Victor 16145-a record number first used in 1909-is the 
earliest known use of the word. They fail to take into account that 
Victor sometimes reused old record numbers when issuing new takes."
Mr Gracyk's biography of Cal Stewart makes interesting reading and can 
be 'googled'.
The Cal Stewart recordings of "Uncle Josh in Society" can be heard on:
Now look what you've started!
Kind regards,

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