Jazzy Baby Names: Miles, Mose & Mabel

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

The inimitable Ella Fitzgerald gave hers a jazzy edge long before Ella was anywhere near 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 appellations—Bix, Django, Eubie, Mercer—that could appeal to the intrepid jazz aficionado baby namer.

Jazz immortals’ surnames are another possiblity,as chosen by a few celebs—model Helena Christensen called her son Mingus, and Woody Allen used Bechet, the name of one of his musical heroes, Sidney Bechet.

Here, some of the jazziest choices:



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10 Responses to “Jazzy Baby Names: Miles, Mose & Mabel”

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pippa Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 9:26 am

Ah, a subject dear to my heart! My husband and I are jazz musicians and longtime aficionados. I admit that it did irk a bit when friends recently named their son Hawkins, after the great saxophonist Coleman Hawkins–despite having zero interest in his music, or jazz in general. They just “liked the sound.” It rang a bit of a false note. (No pun intended!) However I realize I am being oversensitive! Love the list.

Kelly Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

my cousin is pregnant with a little boy. they are planning on calling him Miles….don’t know why though.

Meryl Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I gave my son two middle names Thelonius (after monk) and Lightning (after lightnin’ Hopkins. I am not a huge Jazz fan but I respect these men and their music. I like this blog as we are TTC and I would like to have another musicians name but in my future babies middle spot. I like MIles but it feels too common. I like HAwkins, etta and sable or winters! great topic.

– Meryl
PS I would love to see a similar topic about painters!

Linelei Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 8:40 pm

How about Billie Holiday? Her birth-name was Eleanora, and her nickname was Lady Day. All fabulous choices. 🙂

linda Says:

August 12th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Can’t believe I left her out!

Kelly Says:

August 16th, 2010 at 6:50 pm

My 10 week old daughter is named Tierney. Tierney Sutton definitely was a positive, though not the original reason we chose the name!

Jen Says:

September 7th, 2010 at 11:03 am

Why not add Maceo? Love that name!!

Foodie Says:

November 14th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I’m from Bix Biederbeck’s hometown in Iowa. Every year we have a race called the Bix, the accompanies a jazz festival in his honor.

Kalikeli Says:

February 17th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Ah, you’ve left off one of the greatest, coolest names ever – (John) Coltrane. My husband’s a huge Coltrane fan and we considered it for #1. With the popularity of the nn Cole (not to mention how cool is Trane as a nn?) it may be on the table for #2 on the way.

DH thinks it’s too hipster/cooler than thou to actually use it…

Cleeeeeo Says:

April 15th, 2011 at 11:39 am

I was meant to be called Billie but “didn’t look like one” so they called Cle0 (a name I love a lot more!). I think the jazz singer associations were a bonus for my dad, but it was just a case of them liking the names really!
I always wanted to play trumpet when I was small but ended up being the singer of my school jazz band instead!

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