J Is For Jelly, So Jazzy

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 10.53.39 AM“It must be jelly ’cause jam don’t shake like that.”

These are the lyrics from an old song.  I didn’t know the source of this saying, but that’s what I discovered.  And what a cool discovery it is.

I’m familiar with this saying because Zen-Den says it every so often.  It’s part of his repertoire of sayings intended to describe + amuse anyone who might be listening.

Which is what I think you, my gentle readers, should do now.

Listen and watch Ray McKinley & The New Glenn Miller Orchestra perform a swinging jazzy rendition of this song, and learn about the saying… in context.

It’s fascinating, as you will hear.

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“And lay it on me…”

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

38 thoughts on “J Is For Jelly, So Jazzy”

  1. This was a big saying in my family regarding “jiggly” ladies. It could be someone somewhat large on top or maybe just a large jiggly lady. It wasn’t politically correct and I haven’t heard it in decades!

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  2. Kate, you’ve nailed the meaning which this jazzy rendition of the song tells. However, Zen-Den and I know it as a way to flatter someone, which is a different interpretation of this saying. Less literal, more figurative [if you’ll excuse the pun]. Somehow over the years, the meaning morphed. Or we have it wrong, I suppose.

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  3. I would have never guessed the phrase was that old. I thought it came out of the hip hop, big booty culture. That video was pretty cool, though…. except for the bandleader/singer, he just seemed really creepy singing about jam not shaking like that….

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I know! I didn’t know that this saying was so old, and from jazz, too. Like you, I thought it was hip hop. Just something stupid Z-D picked up along the way. I liked the band better than the leader… which is often the case in music.

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  4. Well, where is everyone today? I’m bummed. I’ve been looking forward to talking about this saying since a few weeks ago when I found out about its origins. Who knew?

    Plus the letter “J” is so nice, I found a saying that used it twice. Now that’s comment-worthy! 🙂

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    1. Yep, pretty darned lonely here. No one cares about jelly, I guess. And the same goes for jam. And what about the jazz? That’s another “J.” This is a three “J” post!

      I’m forever bewildered by what people will respond to and what they won’t…

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    1. joanne, I started hearing this saying in the 90s, maybe? While in the 1930s this saying meant that a woman was fat, today it means something more like: she’s a brick house. Flattery, of a sort.

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    1. Carrie, no kidding? I didn’t know that about “jelly.” That fact didn’t come up in my research. I’m fascinated with this saying because it seems to still be around, yet its meaning has changed over time. So many slang phrases just die away.

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      1. Just check Urban Dictionary. They have the jealous definition there. Of course, my teen sons have told me if I have to look something up on Urban Dictionary, then I shouldn’t be allowed to use the word anyway. This is followed by an eye roll.

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        1. Huh. Most of my research on this saying took me in the direction of music + history. Never thought to double check with Urban Dictionary to see what those words might mean now. [Feel free to roll your eyes at me, I deserve it.]

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    1. bitsfromheaven, “fancy fun” is a great way to describe this song. It’s trippy, which might be why the saying has been around for so long. If you find the song on iTunes, enjoy your jam.

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  5. I’ve never heard this saying. I guess it makes sense if you think about it. Funny how sayings change meaning over time. I loved the jazz band. It really picked me up today!

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    1. Beth, I loved this jazz band, too. I’ve heard this saying off and on for years, but apparently depending on your age, it means different things. Still the saying hangs on…

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    1. Sarah, I didn’t realize how few people knew this saying. I’ve heard it for years, so I figured if I knew it, everyone else did too. Usually I’m the last to know any slang phrase. Yet, here I am jelly and jamming my day away!

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  6. I wanted to pop over and check out you site and I find its all about Jelly around here!! Somewhere in the deep deep recesses of my mind I seem to remember this saying. Perhaps something my dad used to say. Loved the jazz band though. Those guys really knew their stuff. Fun to watch.

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    1. Nancy, thanks for stopping by. The funny thing about this saying is that people EITHER don’t know it at all OR sort of know what it means. I agree about that band. Love it.

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  7. I’ve heard that one, but not the song. Love swing! But now I’m puzzled where I heard it. I used to love to watch the old big band movies, perhaps in one of them.

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    1. Zazzy, it’s such a unique saying, but until I researched it, I didn’t know it was so old. If you figure out where you first heard it, I’d love to know. It does seem like something you’d hear in an old movie… or a hip-hop video. Take your pick!

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