U.S. colloquialisms evolve slowly. "Jag," "tops," "dude" stayed around for decades before they began to lose their freshness. But jazz lingo becomes obsolescent almost as fast as it reaches the public ear. A term of high approbation in the swing era was "out of this world," in the bop era it was "gone," and today it is "the greatest" or "the end." Similarly, a daring performance was "hot," then "cool," and now is "far out." These are the terms currently most often used by modern jazz addicts: ball, n. A good time; having a...

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