Ben Zimmer on the Origin of the Word "Jazz"

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Boston Globe and executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, will talk about the first known use of the word “jazz”—and its surprising link to baseball.


Ben Zimmer

Comments [1]

Amy from Manhattan

I have a piano roll of a song called "Everybody Loves a Jass Band," by Leon Flatow, played by George Morton & dated from 1916 (so I guess the word was 4 years old). Apparently, according to the lyrics, jazz was so new it was still considered to have a "funny meter." The jass band was heard in New Orleans playing a rag called "Pork and Beans" & would "make you think of Alabama" & "get right on your feet & holler out 'Repeat,' 'cause the jass band can't be beat"!

Apr. 03 2012 02:06 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.