Cool Baby Names: Jazzy names for Junior

There’s something undeniably cool and, well, jazzy, about many of the distinctive names of jazz musicians.  Take the ultimate example, the personification of cool —Miles Davis— who imparted an eternally silky, seductive veneer to his name, as did Quincy Jones.

The inimitable Ella Fitzgerald gave her name a jazzy edge long before Ella was anywhere near the top of the pop lists.  Names like Ray and Roy, Cecil and Percy and Dexter all take on an appealing funkiness and rise to another level when looked at in the context of jazz.

And then there are the great unique specimens—Bix, Django, Eubie, Thelonius—all exceptionally cool baby names–that might appeal to the intrepid jazz aficionado.

The surnames of jazz immortals can be considered as well, just as they have by a few celebs—model Helena Christensen’s Mingus, and Woody Allen’s Bechet, for example.  The middle name of Wynton Marsalis’s son Jasper is Armstrong; Cynthia Nixon’s boy Max has Ellington as a middle.

GIRLS

ABBEY Lincoln

ALBERTA Hunter

ANITA O’Day

BILLIE Holiday

BESSIE Smith

BLOSSOM Dearie

CARMEN McRae

CASSANDRA Wilson

CLEA Bradford

CLEO Laine

DAKOTA Staton

DELLA Reese

DINAH Washington

ELLA Fitzgerald

ERNESTINE Anderson

ESPERANZA Spalding

ETTA James

HAZEL Scott

IVY Anderson

JUNE Christy

LENA Horne

LIL Armstrong

LOREZ Alexandria

MABEL Mercer

MORGANA King

NINA Simone

REGINA Carter

SABLE Winters

TIERNEY Sutton

BOYS

ARNETT Cobb

ARCHIE Shepp

ARTURO Sandoval

BARNEY Kessel

BECHET, Sidney (used by Woody Allen for his daughter)

BIX (born Leon) Beiderbeck

BOOKER Ervin, Little

BOYD Raeburn

CABELL (Cab) Calloway

CAL Tjader

CALLOWAY, Cab

CECIL Taylor

CHET (born Chesney) Baker

CHICO (born Forestorn) Hamilton

CHRISTIAN McBRIDE

CLARK Terry

CLAUDE Thornhill

CLIFFORD Brown

COLEMAN Hawkins

COLERIDGE Goode

CURTIS Fuller

DEXTER Gordon

DJANGO Reinhardt

ELLINGTON, Duke (used by Cynthia Nixon as a middle name for her son Max)

ELLIS Larkins

ELMO Hope (born St. Elmo)

ERROLL Garner

EUBIE Blake

FLETCHER Henderson

GILDO Mahones

GUS Mancuso

HAMPTON Hawes

HORACE Silver

HUGH Masekela

HUMPHREY Littleton

IKE Quebec

ILLINOIS (Jean Baptiste) Jacquet

JULIAN (Cannonball) Adderley

KAI Winding

LARS Gullin

LIONEL Hampton

LOUIS Armstrong

MAX Roach

McCOY Tyner

MEADE LUX Lewis

MERCER Ellington

MILES Davis

MINGUS, Charles—used by Helena Christensen

MONGO Santamaria

MOSE Allison

NAT (Nathaniel) Adderley

ORNETTE Coleman

OSCAR Peterson, Pettiford

PEPPER (born PARK) Adams

PERCY Heath

PHINEAS Newborn, Jr.

QUINCY Jones

RAMSEY Lewis

RAY Charles

REX Stewart

ROY Eldridge

CONTE (born Secondo) Candoli

STEPHANE Grapelli

TADD Dameron

TAFT Jordan

THADDEUS/THAD Jones

THELONIOUS Monk

VIDO Musso

WYNTON Marsalis

ZIGGY (born Harry) Elman

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5 Responses to “Cool Baby Names: Jazzy names for Junior”

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emmyk12 Says:

October 12th, 2011 at 9:34 am

This is a great blog, but I do enjoy the Question of the Week, too! Also I’d like to point out that although it may not be jazz-inspired, Jasmine nn Jazz or Jazzy is adorable.

Mischa Says:

October 12th, 2011 at 10:36 am

There are some wonderful names on these jazz inspired lists. For girls, my faves are Carmen, Cassandra, Clea/Cleo, Dinah, Esperanza, Hazel, Ivy, June, Lena, Mabel, Morgana, Nina, Regina, Sable (mn only) and Tierney. On the boys side, I like Archie, Calloway, Django, Ellis, Humphrey, Ike, Julian, Kai, Lars, Meade Lux, Miles, Mingus, Oscar, Phineas, Quincy, Rex, Thaddeus, Thelonious, Vido and Wynton. Too bad that jazz music is not my genre of choice when listening to music.

lemon Says:

October 12th, 2011 at 11:01 am

The first names on this list are amazing, but what about the last names? Lincoln, McRae, Wilson, Laine, Reese, Fitzgerald, Mercer, Simone, Sutton, Fuller, Ellington, Garner, Davis, Heath, and Musso would all be good ones, I think!

Nook of Names Says:

October 12th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Jazz musicians certainly have had some great names and are clearly a great source of inspiration for naming ideas. Meade Lux has a magnificently contemporary vibe!

JenniferMariska Says:

October 12th, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I’m a jazz musician, LOVE these names and their music. Wanted to use Parker (after sax pro Charlie) for a future son but it’s taken off. He also went by Bird, which is a bit too out there for me. Other great sax players include the Sonnys- Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt. “Dizzy” Gillespie was pretty good too, Gillespie nn Gil(l) is more accessible than some of the others.

I guess Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton don’t make for the greatest babynames, despite their levels of influence! Awesome nicknames though.

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