Nobody knows where the word “jazz” originated. It feels today like something that’s always been. A vivid monosyllable—like dawn, or ash. Like the color blue. It might come from the French word jaser, chitchat, or from their word for hunting, chasser. It might have been invented by Titanic-era baseball players, who called their wobbliest pitches “jazz balls.” Many scholars tie “jazz” to “jasm,” an archaic term for energy, spirit or semen. Somehow all of these explanations feel true. Jazz is dirty and spiritual; it’s playful talk and murderous pursuit; it’s a dancing object as it moves through the air. This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Interiors Issue 19 Prankster’s Paradise Is the nine-to-five grind approaching monotony? Arrive at the office early to even the playing field and invoke mirth for your co-workers. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots.