16 June 2011

When Webster's Added Jazz to the Dictionary

From The Atlantic:
In a musty Brooklyn bookstore this past weekend, I went looking for an old dictionary for a very special secret project. Among the teetering stacks of books, I came across a gorgeous 1927 Webster's International New Dictionary, and paging through it at Karloff down the street, I found myself drawn to the NEW WORDS section. These words were not invented in 1927, but represent additions to the book since its original publication in 1909. So, what we're capturing here is change between 1909 and 1927, a fascinating historical moment of great technological and social change.
jazz, n: a. Music. A recent type of American music, esp. for dances, developed from ragtime by introduction of eccentric noises and negro melodies, and now characterized by melodious themes, dance rhythms, and orchestral coloring.
Other new words from that edition: bootleg, super, Yuan, airplane, and Great White Way.

11 June 2011

Tina Fey on her Father

Don Fey certainly had friends of other races and religions. He has told me a couple times about the night he kissed Lionel Hampton. He was at a jazz concert as a teenager with an all-white audience. At one point in the show, Lionel Hampton would invite a woman from the audience to dance with him, but the white girls were all too scared to be seen dancing with a black man. To ease the tension, Don Fey jumped up and fast-danced with Mr. Hampton, at the end of which Lionel Hampton kissed him on the forehead to a round applause.
The quote is from Bossypants. Ah the self-mythologizing of the Depression generation...

08 June 2011

List: Jazz Nicknames

This week A Blog Supreme lists 12 great jazz nicknames. Here are 12 more, sans commentary:
  1. Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge
  2. Oran "Hot Lips" Page
  3. Jeff "Tain" Watts
  4. Billie "Lady Day" Holliday
  5. Johnny "Rabbit" Hodges
  6. Arthur "Zutty" Singleton
  7. Willie "The Lion" Smith
  8. Johnny "Little Giant" Griffin
  9. Harry "Sweets" Edison
  10. Albert "Tootie" Heath
  11. Jay "Hootie" McShann
  12. Sonny "Newk" Rollins