1950 Neurotica Autumn 45 Senor this shit [sc. narcotic] is the end!Blowing some jazz on a piano. I would have thought blowing jazz could only be done on wind instruments. I look up the jazz slang "blow," and there's this:
1954 Time 8 Nov. 70 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’.
1957 J. Kerouac On Road ii. iv. 127 That Rollo Greb is the greatest... Man, he's the end!...
1963 Nugget Feb. 46, I was blowing some jazz in the student lounge on this end Steinway.
1962 Radio Times 17 May 43/3 A jazz musician never plays an instrument—he blows it, whether it be drums, piano, bass, or horn. Should he ‘blow’ with feeling, or great excitement (‘like wild’) he is either ‘way out’ or ‘wailing’.The 1960s progressed and The Doors came out with "The End" — This is the end/My only friend, the end — and "the end" lost its soaring, fun-loving feeling. [AND: Bob Dylan sang: "Oh, Mama, can this really be the end?"]
"Blow" acquired a mid-60s slang use: "to blow (a person's) mind, to induce hallucinatory experiences (in a person) by means of drugs, esp. LSD; hence transf., to produce (in a person) a pleasurable (or shocking) sensation." OED examples:
1967 San Francisco Examiner 12 Sept. 26/3 On a hip acid (LSD) trip you can blow your mind sky-high....Can you guess who blew the jury's minds in 1970? "Heroine To The Rescue: Jimi Hendrix Is Innocent/Dope? 'I've outgrown it.'" That was in January. Speaking of the end, Hendrix's end was later that year, in September.
1968 J. D. MacDonald Pale Grey for Guilt (1969) xii. 152 They had some new short acid from the Coast that never gives you a down trip and blows your mind for an hour only.
1970 Rolling Stone 30 Jan. 1/2 Blue blazer, grey flannel pants, shirt and a beautiful scarf with a chunky Mexican turquoise/silver bracelet and ring which blew the white-shirted jury's minds.
ADDED: Rereading this post, I'm thinking the Oxford English Dictionary editors intended to drop a clue that Jack Kerouac was not as hip as he seemed — that he picked up his slang from Time Magazine. Look at that greatest... the end... combination.
IN THE COMMENTS: urpower said:
Kerouac's "On the Road" was completed in May 1951 and the recently published 'scroll' version includes the quoted sentence. Time magazine, still not with it! And wonder if "blowjob" came from jazz. Edmund White said it came from blowing, like wind, but ??Thanks, urpower! I'm glad to see Kerouac vindicated. (Still don't know if the OED-ers did that on purpose.) I will reward you for your assistance by looking up "blow job" in the OED:
1961 A. Hecht in Hudson Rev. XIV. 371 59 And you can get a blow-job Where other men have pissed.The definition links back to the slang for "blow," which has historical examples as early as 1933:
1969 Oz May 14 No, I don't want a blow job—I'm a girl.....
1933 Brevities 12 Oct. 1 (heading) Sexy sailors blow! Bawdy boys run riot on high seas as fags stir emotions of rollicking rovers.The jazz meaning of "blow" is only traced back to 1949: "1949 L. Feather Inside Be-bop ii. 72 Nobody ever gave Diz or Bird a lesson in the art of blowing a jazz chorus." So I take it the derivation is the other way around, and meaning was sexual before it was musical.
1941 G. Legman in G. W. Henry Sex Variants ii. 1158 Blow, to fellate or cunnilingue, the object being the person, and not the genital organ.
1959 W. S. Burroughs Naked Lunch 86 ‘Darling, I want to blow you,’ she whispers.
1968 J. Updike Couples ii. 148 The bitch won't blow unless she's really looped. What did the Bard say? To fuck is human; to be blown, divine.
1969 P. Roth Portnoy's Complaint 191 ‘I want you to come in my mouth,’ and so she blew me.
1978 M. Puzo Fools Die vi. 82 There was a whole regiment of floozy Nightingales passing through his hotel room, washing him, feeding him and, as they tucked him in, blowing him to make sure he was relaxed enough to get a good night's sleep.
I was going to say that the original meaning of the word "jazz" was sexual, but the OED doesn't back up that folk etymology. It has "jazz" as "Attested earliest in California, frequently in baseball contexts and as college slang" and meaning "Energy, excitement, ‘pep’; restlessness; animation, excitability," as in "I got a new curve this year... I call it the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it," which was quoted in the L.A. Times in 1912. The OED opines: "The suggestion that the sexual sense... was primary is unlikely, chiefly for semantic reasons, though not impossible." The earliest example of "jazz" meaning "sexual intercourse" is from 1918:
1918 J. Dos Passos Jrnl. 11 Nov. in Fourteenth Chron. (1973) 229 Talk is mainly of seasickness and the possibility of French jazz.ADDED: Here's that "Original Scroll Version" of "On the Road." I'm putting it in my Kindle for future — coming soon! — blog posts. And here's "Portnoy's Complaint." You know you want it.