Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Somewhat eccentric spelling from Mr. Edward Kennedy Ellington on this ad. "Jass?"
Well, at the time Ellington formed The Duke's Serenaders (around 1917-1918) that was actually the accepted spelling for this music (for example, the very first commercial recordings of Jazz were by The Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917). I'm not sure when the 'Z's got attached for good, but it wasn't long after.
I've always been fascinated with the connection between the concurrent growth of Jazz music and military aviation, especially fighter pilots - by 1918, "Dark Town Strutters' Ball" was already the unofficial song of No. 56 Squadron in the RFC, and Jazz was a hot item in the clubs on leave - young men will be young men, even with a Sam Browne belt. Commercial recordings were hardly off the presses in the States and those guys were early adopters faster than I could've ever imagined. Even tho they prolly danced the fox-trot to ragtime back then, they were jumping all over the new "jass" music as listening favorites. There's a fascinating syncopation there when "the wind is in the wires". Airmen seemed to be cutting edge in more ways than one back when they were trying their hardest to kill each other in WWII, and on both sides - "Schragemuzik", (Jazz) was forbidden in the Nazi's view, but openly popular in the Luftwaffe. Curiously, Ellington, Armstrong and Billie Holiday were faves on both sides as well - Jazz transcended written orders among the hunters and killers. Strange connectivity there.
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