If you’ve just started listening to Jazz, you’ve undoubtedly made the best decision of your life. Congratulations!

Jazz isn’t just a genre of music. It’s a language. It’s a language that speaks to the deepest, darkest corners of your soul. It heals your heart from within and makes you feel emotions you never knew existed.

And if you’re like us, you probably want to learn everything there is about Jazz. At Razzmajazz Dixieland Band, we believe that to speak the language of Jazz, you need to first start with slang.

Here are a couple of words to add to your dictionary:

18 Karat

In Jazz, “18 karat” refers to someone who gives it their best. It also means “to go all the way.” For example: Ben is a great guy. His heart is “18 karat.”


Air-check refers to a performance or recording on radio or television. For example: Yes, we’ve heard the air-check of Louis Armstrong from the late 50s.

The Apple

The Apple is another name for New York City. Of course, the city is commonly referred to as “The Big Apple” now.

For example: The Razzmajazz Dixieland Band has a gig in the Apple next weekend.

The Axe

We’re not actually talking about an axe! We’re also not talking about the deodorant. “Axe” in Jazz means “instrument.”

When you tell someone to bring their “axe” it simply means you’re asking them to bring their instrument!


“Baby” is a term of endearment. It’s the same as “babe.” You’ll find plenty of Jazz songs that use this word.

For example: A lot of clients request us to play Bessie Smith’s “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home” during our live performances.


This one’s a little confusing because in Jazz, “bad” actually means “good.” For example: That boy, Jack, is amazing. He plays some really bad songs!

Balloon Lungs

This refers to someone who plays brass instruments and has strong lungs. For example: Did you see, Jessie? She’s amazing! She held the note for three minutes. She’s got balloon lungs.


This means exhaustion. When you’re beat after a long day, you’re really tired. For example: the Razzmajazz Dixieland Band is amazing. They performed throughout the day without getting beat!

These are a few of the many terms Jazz musicians use. We hope we were able to provide you with a better understanding of jazz terminology.

We’ve been playing traditional Swing and Dixieland Jazz for over 39 years! Feel free to purchase our album or give us a listen.

We have performed clients such as:

  • Black Blonde Hair Salon & Coffee House
  • Bob’s Red Mill Foods
  • Canadian International Mining Conference
  • Dave Valee Real Estate
  • Dena’s Boutique
  • 100 Braid Street Art Studio
  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • Anvil Centre
  • BC Arts Council
  • Aldergrove Fair
  • Bowen Island Steamship Days Festival
  • Chemainus Jazz Festival
  • Feast of Fields

And many more!