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Razz’s Band

The origins of Jazz, where and how it started has of late really intrigued me. After some research thanks to “Googe Books” I ran across an article reprinted many times over the years, from the April, 26th. 1919 issue of “The Literary Digest”, the June 25th. 1923 issue of “Time” magazine, and the June, 1919 issue of “The Recruit” a pictorial navel magazine. The Story tells of a Lieut. James Reese Europe, late of the Machine Gun Battalion of the 15th. Regiment, tells that the word ”Jazz” comes from Mr. Razz, who led a band in New Orleans some 15 years ago (1904?) of four pieces, truly an extraordinary composition of instruments. It included a baritone horn, trombone, a cornet and an instrument made out of the “chinaberry tree” This instrument is something like the clarinet, and can only be used while the sap is in the wood, and after a few week’s of use has to be thrown away. It produces a beautiful sound and is worthy of inclusion in any band or orchestra. The four musicians of Razz’s Band had no idea at all of what they were playing; they improvised as they went along, but such was their innate sense of rhythm that they produced something which was very taking. From the small cafes of New Orleans they graduated to the St. Charles Hotel, and after a time to the “Winter Garden” in New York, where they appeared, however, only a few days, the individual musicians being grabbed up by various orchestra’s in the city. Somehow in the passage of time “Razz’s” Band” got changed into “Jazz Band”, and from this corruption arose the term Jazz.

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