Jass.com: New Orleans Society


The society scene in New Orleans has always had need of entertainment whether it was for a Mardi Gras Ball or a lavish Debutante affair and the early jazz bands were very willing to oblige. In fact, most New Orleans musicians, to this day, do not just play one kind of music, as one might never know what the next gig may require as far as musical knowledge and ability. The rich have always been patrons of the arts and have had an integral part in keeping jazz alive through their patronage, whether in New Orleans or any large American city.

Early jazz men said "to jazz" meant to fornicate, or as they put it "jazzing meant effing." (fucking) A "jazzbow" or "jazzbo" was a lover of the ladies. According to some sources, the word Jazz was also underworld jargon found in Chaucer and Shakespeare. Jazz had many names: jabo, jaba, jazpation, jazynco, jazorient, jazanola. Also jazanata, jazarella, jazanjaz, jazology, jazette, jazitis and jazioso.

According to Arnold Loyacano, the word jazz had different origins. Loyacano was in Tom Brown's band, which in 1915, was the first white band to ever go to Chicago and play jazz. They were playing in a hotel which previously had a string quartet for entertainment. Brown's band had been used to playing on the back of a wagon, which meant that they had to play loud and were really incapable of playing soft. The crowd's reaction was to hold their ears and yell, "Too loud!" Loyacano says that was when people started calling his music "jazz." "The way Northern people figured it out, our music was loud, clangy, boisterous, like you'd say, ~Where did you get that jazzy suit?" meaning loud or fancy. Some people called it "jass." Later when the name struck, it was spelled with a "z,""jazz."

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