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2219 Views 52 Replies Latest reply: May 28, 2011 4:04 AM by R C-R RSS
  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
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    May 27, 2011 4:51 AM (in response to R C-R)

    The origins of the term "Jive" won't be settled by doing this. But someone motivated enough (not I) may want to contact Jive and ask them what they had in mind when they named the company. I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even know, or if the person responding to the message is not at a level to have such inside information. Probably, therefore, a fool's errand.



    FWIW from the Online Etymology Dictionary


    jive Look up jive at
    1928, "to deceive playfully" (v.), also "empty, misleading talk" (n.) and "a style of fast, lively jazz and dance music," Amer.Eng., from Black English, probably of African origin (cf. Wolof jev, jeu "talk about someone absent, especially in a disparaging manner"). Related: Jived; jiving. Used from 1938 for "New York City African-American slang." The adj. meaning "not acting right" is attested from 1971.

    "Jeu" (jev) game, would, seemingly, be from French colonial West Africa.
  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (13,805 points)
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    May 27, 2011 9:43 AM (in response to WZZZ)

    The correct (or even plausible) origins of the slang terminology of minority groups is often disputed by etymologists. See for example this note about the dubiousness of claims linking Black English slang to the Wolof language or the editorial review comments in the page for the Juba to Jive book.


    That is in part because the literary references scholars study often appear long after the terms have lost their secret "insider" meanings or have been misinterpreted by "outsiders," sometimes with comic effect.


    Maybe that's the case here. The Jive management team certainly don't look like "hep cats" but you never know.

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
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    May 27, 2011 11:39 AM (in response to R C-R)

    His Royal Hipness.


    Lord Buckley "The Nazz"

  • Ronda Wilson Level 8 Level 8 (40,560 points)
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    May 27, 2011 2:50 PM (in response to Pancenter)

    Could it have been envy?


    He made buckets of money (in the currency of the day).


    On the other hand, your theory holds water inasmuch that I am white, and I (still, to this day) love Cab Calloway. I'm having a hard time thinking that anybody didn't regard him as a talented musician — serious or not. To me, he is (was) a FUN musician (sorta like Spike Jones, but a little more serious than that.)

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,875 points)
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    May 27, 2011 2:43 PM (in response to Ronda Wilson)

    He had to be OK. He was even on Sesame Street. (Until I hear otherwise, I'm going with Pan; he seems to know what he's talking about. Square business.)

  • R C-R Level 6 Level 6 (13,805 points)
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    May 28, 2011 4:04 AM (in response to Pancenter)

    Pancenter wrote:

    In 43 years of playing jazz I've never heard it used as a compliment or representing something other than a negative attribute …

    If you started playing jazz in the mid 1960's, I'm not surprised by this. But about a quarter of a century earlier it was not a negative attribute.


    BTW, Cab Calloway was taught scat by Louis Armstrong & his band co-headlined with Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club when it was widely considered the premier jazz club on the planet. Along with Ellington, he is credited with breaking racial barriers on national radio. His band included such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Cozy Cole, Danny Barker, & Milt Hinton. His best known song, "Minnie the Moocher," (1932) was not as lighthearted as most people think -- its subject was a "low down" drug user.


    If you only know Calloway from YouTube, check out Stormy Weather (1943).

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