[Dixielandjazz] The word Jazz

David Richoux tubaman at tubatoast.com
Wed Mar 25 09:51:50 PDT 2009

I have seen that idea a few times lately - for example:

...others hold, with perhaps a little more evidence, that it stems  
from the French verb jaser, meaning "to chatter."...

or even this?

...One story offers perfume as a possible source of the word. When he  
was a young man working in a circus band in Louisiana, Garvin Bushell  
discussed the subject with some older musicians: They said that the  
French had brought the perfume industry with them to New Orleans, and  
the oil of jasmine was a popular ingredient locally. To add it to a  
perfume was called "jassing it up." The strong scent was popular in  
the red-light district, where a working girl might approach a  
prospective customer and say, "Is jazz on your mind tonight, young  
fellow?" The term had become synonymous with erotic activity and came  
to be applied to the music as well. ...

   (Jazz Anecdotes by Bill Crow, Oxford University Press, 1990)

Anyway, it makes for interesting research!

Dave Richoux

On Mar 25, 2009, at 7:58 AM, Brian Harvey wrote:

> Recent research suggests that the name Jazz for our music came from  
> the
> French "Jasser" which I am told means "to mix up".
> Can anyone confirm this?
> Brian Harvey

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