Gig is slang for a live musical performance. Originally coined in the 1920s by jazz musicians, the term, short for the word “engagement”, now refers to any aspect of performing, such as assisting with and attending musical performance. More broadly, the term “gigging” means having paid work, being employed.
According to our friends at Wikipedia, the first documented use “gig” in this way appears in 1926: Melody Maker 7 September 1926, with the story byline stating, “One Popular Gig Band Makes Use of a Nicely Printed Booklet.”
Currently the term “gig” refers to a “set”, which is a term that comes from “set list,” which is a list of all the music that an individual or a band is going to play throughout the course of a performance.
In recent years, the term “gig” has been used in a broader context in the economy. Our new “Gig Economy” refers to the new reality that many people now work several jobs just to make ends meet.
Night is Alive books gigs for some of the highest-ranking jazz artists today. Learn how we can provide the right musician for your performance venue at our Contact page!