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Why Cool is still hot

How a 1920s jazz age term became and remains a global phenomenon

By John Harris   June 2017

Sax appeal: Lester Young's style as idiosyncratic, semi-detached and possessed of its own rules √Eliot Elision/The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

The Origins of Cool in Postwar America, by Joel Dinerstein (University of Chicago Press, £30) 

In Straight From the Fridge, Dad, an authoritative dictionary of slang published in 2009, Max Décharné defines “cool” as “in the know, A-ok, hep,” and “unworried, calm… relaxed.” The musician and writer traces its origins to an effervescent jazz piece “How You Gonna Keep Kool?”, recorded by an obscure troupe called the Georgia Melodians…

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