[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Etymology

Jack Mitchell fjmitch at westnet.com.au
Thu Mar 26 16:50:32 PDT 2009

The article in the Frisco Cricket on the San Francisco origins of the word JAZZ is most interesting.

Dick Holbrook wrote an article OUR WORD JAZZ in theDecember 1973/January 1974 issue of Storyville magazine (London). He mentioned much of "Scoop" Gleeson's writings, although as widely as Daniel Cassidy.

Holbrook traced what is apparently the first use of the word Jazz in relation to music - uttered by George Demarest to his brother William at the Portola Theatre, San Francisco in May, 1910, when he said "Come on, jazz it up." That was three years before Gleason's use of the word. Obviously George didn't mean to play jazz as we know it today, but to make it "loud and snappy". Maybe he did mean it as we understand it after all!

The whole article in Storyville is well worth reading.

Best wishes
Jack Mitchell

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list