Why are they Called Jazz Cats?

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Just an honest question. We don't say 'rocker bears' or 'fusion lemurs'.
It doesn't have to be an animal reference, nick names are often given to music styles players, ie: "metal heads", "soap singers"...

Cat is also a nick name used to describe drummers, in many interviews, you can hear such and such drummer saying "that cat can really play" while talking about another fellow drummer.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I think it goes back to the 20's. There was a term, "the cat's pajamas". Also " the cat's meow". Both of which meant splendid .... boss ... groovy .... bitchin'. That translated to a "cat" being a dude who could do something splendid. And if he was of some mind progressive, he was a "hep cat".​
This, since it was "before" the age of rock, made jazz the really cool, forward, progressive scene. So not many "cats" playing Polka, Country, or Classical.​
Blues also fell into the "hip" category, so there were also "blues cats".​
 

drummaman1

Senior Member
The word "Jazz" itself is slang. The story goes that one of the gigs piano players used to get were playing the piano in the brothels. When a prostitute had a client she wasn't particularly fond of but still had to make money, she'd tell the piano player to "Jazz it up" so she doesn't have to spend much time with that person. That's one story.

Another is "Jazz" was one of the first euphemisms for semen.

The post earlier is a good description of the use of the word "cats" It was back then drumset players were "traps" players, "hitting the skins" back then it applied 'cause the drum heads were made of calfskin. Calling drums "tubs" cause they sounded tubby to some...
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
The word "Jazz" itself is slang. The story goes that one of the gigs piano players used to get were playing the piano in the brothels. When a prostitute had a client she wasn't particularly fond of but still had to make money, she'd tell the piano player to "Jazz it up" so she doesn't have to spend much time with that person. That's one story.

Another is "Jazz" was one of the first euphemisms for semen.

The post earlier is a good description of the use of the word "cats" It was back then drumset players were "traps" players, "hitting the skins" back then it applied 'cause the drum heads were made of calfskin. Calling drums "tubs" cause they sounded tubby to some...
not true

jazz is a purpose mispronunciation of jass

these piano players in the brothels recognized that the prostitutes all wore a perfume called Jasmine and they loved to dance to the swing of Ragtime piano to seduce their Johns.

these piano players would shorten Jasmine to jass....and say I got a job tonight going to play the jass.
then realizing Jasmine was pronounced Jazmine ....jass became jazz

and "cats" comes from common sayings at the time like...."the cats meow" being something of the best quality, the best performer, or a highly desired item

legend says that Louis Armstrong is among the first to refer to his peers as "cats"...and say things like "ya dig?"...when asking if you understand ...and saying things are "hip"

I have asked these questions many times to guys who learned from the people who were alive and relevant during the times when these sayings became popular ..... and these are the answers they gave me

see the Jass Fools here
 
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Anon La Ply

Renegade
While an affectation, I like the term "jazz cats". Cats are in control, smooth, agile and somewhat aloof, which is how generally I see the playing of jazzers.

... as opposed to a musical hamster like me - slow, a bit clunky, not much of a threat, appealing in primitive way to some and mostly consumes greens :)
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
not true

jazz is a purpose mispronunciation of jass

these piano players in the brothels recognized that the prostitutes all wore a perfume called Jasmine and they loved to dance to the swing of Ragtime piano to seduce their Johns.

these piano players would shorten Jasmine to jass....and say I got a job tonight going to play the jass.
then realizing Jasmine was pronounced Jazmine ....jass became jazz

and "cats" comes from common sayings at the time like...."the cats meow" being something of the best quality, the best performer, or a highly desired item

legend says that Louis Armstrong is among the first to refer to his peers as "cats"...and say things like "ya dig?"...when asking if you understand ...and saying things are "hip"

I have asked these questions many times to guys who learned from the people who were alive and relevant during the times when these sayings became popular ..... and these are the answers they gave me

see the Jass Fools here
Wow, That is so cool. I learned something today. Thanks
 

oldrockdrummer

Senior Member
not true

jazz is a purpose mispronunciation of jass

these piano players in the brothels recognized that the prostitutes all wore a perfume called Jasmine and they loved to dance to the swing of Ragtime piano to seduce their Johns.

these piano players would shorten Jasmine to jass....and say I got a job tonight going to play the jass.
then realizing Jasmine was pronounced Jazmine ....jass became jazz

and "cats" comes from common sayings at the time like...."the cats meow" being something of the best quality, the best performer, or a highly desired item

legend says that Louis Armstrong is among the first to refer to his peers as "cats"...and say things like "ya dig?"...when asking if you understand ...and saying things are "hip"

I have asked these questions many times to guys who learned from the people who were alive and relevant during the times when these sayings became popular ..... and these are the answers they gave me

see the Jass Fools here
So a Jazz Cat would be a highly desired or best quality prostitute
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
So a Jazz Cat would be a highly desired or best quality prostitute

not at all the point I was making ....but yes

Prostitute : One who sells one's abilities, talent, or name for an "unworthy" purpose.

jazz musicians were often considered to be "unworthy" to the upper class.....often seen as drug addicts and second rate criminals .....but the upper class all payed to hear them play and would hire them to play at their events so they could come across as "hip"
 

oldrockdrummer

Senior Member
not at all the point I was making ....but yes

Prostitute : One who sells one's abilities, talent, or name for an "unworthy" purpose.

jazz musicians were often considered to be "unworthy" to the upper class.....often seen as drug addicts and second rate criminals .....but the upper class all payed to hear them play and would hire them to play at their events so they could come across as "hip"
Wow I see. Wouldn't it be nice if the upper class viewed rock musicians in such a manner
 
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