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60 Jazz Baby Names

  1. TatumHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "Tate's homestead"
    • Description:

      Tatum is one of the rare examples of a name that was exclusively female, as in Tatum O'Neal, but now is used for boys too, entering the male Top 1000 in 2010. Jazz legend Art Tatum and actor Channing Tatum are two notable male bearers, albeit as a surname. And country singer Luke Bryan recently named his son Tatum Christopher, to be called Tate. We also recommend the cool and crisp Tate as a standalone name.
  2. DukeHeart
    • Origin:

      English rank of nobility
    • Description:

      While John Wayne and Duke Ellington are worthy role models, the reason Duke is currently enjoying a revival and returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 as one of the year's fastest-rising boys’ names is more likely due to the name given to high-profile TV couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Christened Edward Duke, he has always been called by his middle name, just as Edward Duke Ellington was. Duke is just one of several aristocratic titles being increasingly used by ordinary citizens.
  3. DavisHeart
    • Origin:

      Surname derived from David, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "beloved"
    • Description:

      Davis is a fresh way to say David. Some sources define it as "son of David," but we see it as a surname spin on the original. While David is an everyman name, Davis has some creative edge -- and still gets you to the classic guy nickname Dave.
  4. DinahHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God will judge"
    • Description:

      As the song says, "Dinah, is there anyone finer?" Dinah is a charming, underused Old Testament name with a rich literary and musical resume.
  5. ChetHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Chester
    • Meaning:

      "fortress, walled town"
    • Description:

      Chet is an old-fashioned short form that, ala Ned and Joe, is starting to sound cool again.
  6. CallowayHeart
    • Origin:

      English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "pebbly place"
    • Description:

      Calloway is one of those irresistibly jaunty, animated three-syllable surnames, like Sullivan and Finnegan — but this one has the added attraction of jazzy ties to the immortal "Dean of American Jive," Cab Calloway.
  7. WesHeart
    • TheloniusHeart
      • Origin:

        Latinized variation of Tillo
      • Meaning:

        "lord"
      • Description:

        One of the coolest of names, thanks to legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, who inherited it from his father. It has been used very sparingly since the 1960s--just a sprinkling of baby boys receive the name each year. Monk's middle name Sphere is pretty unique too--a cousin of Cosmos and Cosmo. Some other jazz names to consider: Bix, Ellington, Ella, Etta, Mingus, Dexter and Calloway. :
    • FitzgeraldHeart
      • Origin:

        Irish and Scottish
      • Meaning:

        "son of Gerald"
      • Description:

        Made famous by F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Fitzgerald Kennedy; still works best as a middle name.
    • MercerHeart
      • Origin:

        French occupational name
      • Meaning:

        "a merchant"
      • Description:

        Mercer is an attractive possibility which is an occupational name that doesn't sound like one. Mercer and its cool, sophisticated short form Merce project a super creative image via their artistic namesakes.

        Johnny Mercer was a talented and charming songwriter-singer who wrote the lyrics for more than 1,500 songs, including Moon River. Jazz great Duke Ellington named his son Mercer, and he in turn became a respected musician in his own right. Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland used Mercer as the middle name of his son Noah.

    • MingusHeart
      • Origin:

        Scottish, variation of Menzies
      • Meaning:

        "tenants of a manor"
      • Description:

        Supermodel Helena Christensen named her son in honor of jazz great Charles Mingus, opening up a whole category of jazzy possibilities: Kenton, Calloway, Ellington, Gillespie, Mulligan, Tatum, and Thelonius.
    • EllingtonHeart
      • Origin:

        English place-name and surname
      • Meaning:

        "Ellis's town"
      • Description:

        Ellington is a swinging musical name, evoking the jazzy and elegant persona of the Duke (born Edward Kennedy Ellington). While that reference may seem to make Ellington a male name, it is also occasionally used for girls.
    • BakerHeart
      • Origin:

        English occupational surname
      • Description:

        One of the most appealing of the newly hip occupational names, evoking sweet smells emanating from the oven. Much fresher sounding than than others that have been around for a while, like Cooper, and Carter.
    • EarlHeart
      • Origin:

        English aristocratic title
      • Description:

        Earl is a title name - brought to England by the vikings - that's out of fashion right now, unlike King and Duke. Its peak popularity was in the 1920s, which gives it a dusty great-grandpa feel, but there are also younger Earls in pop culture, like the reformed criminal in "My Name is Earl".
    • ElvinHeart
      • Origin:

        English
      • Meaning:

        "noble friend"
      • Description:

        Elvin had his peak in the 1920s - which was when jazz musician Elvin Jones was born - but parents are still using it for over 100 boys a year. That's less than Kelvin, but more than Delvin.
    • BessieHeart
      • Origin:

        Diminutive of Elizabeth
      • Meaning:

        "pledged to God"
      • Description:

        After a century of association with horses and cows, this name just could be ready for revival by a fearless baby namer -- after all, it did happen to Jessie and Becky.
    • BixHeart
      • Origin:

        Modern nickname
      • Description:

        Bix is a cool and jazzy nickname name, thanks to that final x. It's largely associated with the legendary and influential cornet player (and inspiration for the novel Young Man With a Horn), Bix Beiderbecke. He was born Leon Bismark Beiderbecke and his nickname derived from his middle name.
    • LesterHeart
      • Origin:

        English place-name; phonetic form of Leicester
      • Description:

        Lester is one of the British surname names that were popular in the US in the early decades of the twentieth century: it was in the Top 100 through 1931, reaching a high of Number 52 in 1906. But dropping of the list in the late 1990s, along with Hester and Sylvester, we don't see much hope for a return visit.
    • JazzHeart
      • Origin:

        Word name
      • Description:

        Jazz as a full name is used slightly more often for boys than girls and has a distinctive, well, jazzy feel. Jazz is also occasionally used as a nickname for Jasper, much more often for Jasmine or Jazlyn. Could work as a middle name.
    • StanHeart
      • Origin:

        Short form of Stanley
      • Meaning:

        "near the stony meadow"
      • Description:

        One of the old-school nicknames -- think Ray, Vince, Frank -- that's on the brink of coming back into style. Name him Stanislav or Constantine and he'll have a groovier long form to fall back on.