Friday, September 28, 2007

Valaida Snow

Valaida Snow (born June 2, 1904, Chattanooga, Tennessee; died May 30, 1956, New York City) was an African american jazz musician and entertainer. Raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a family devoted to music, she learned to play cello, bass, banjo, violin, mandolin, harp, accordion, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone at professional levels by the time she was 15. She also sang and danced.

After focusing on the trumpet, she quickly became so famous at the instrument that she was named "Little Louis" after Louis Armstrong, who used to call her the world's second best jazz trumpet player besides himself. She played concerts throughout the USA, Europe and China.

Her most successful period was in the 1930s when she became the toast of London and Paris. Around this time she recorded her hit song, "High Hat, Trumpet, and Rhythm." She was performed in the Ethel Waters show, Rhapsody In Black, in New York. In the mid-30s she made films with her husband Ananais Berry of the Berry Brothers dancing troupe. After playing New York's Apollo she revisited Europe and the Far East for more shows and films.

Later she became addicted to morphine. While touring through Denmark, she was arrested and sent to prison for theft and possession of drugs. After her release, she claimed having been sent to a Concentration camp by the Nazis. In the 1950s she had a tough time living up to her former success.

Valaida Snow died of brain hemorrhage on May 30, 1956 in New York City.

There is a novel, Valaida by Candace Allen, based on her life story.
Valaida Snow - Caravan (Ellington), 1939

For More on Valaida Snow Check out VALAIDA SNOW JAZZ TRUMPET STAR