Thursday, April 15, 2010

Valaida Snow - 1930's Female Jazz Trumpet Player

VALAIDA SNOW - TRUMPET

Born - June 2, 1903
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Died - May 30, 1956




Valaida Snow was an African American jazz musician and entertainer.  Raised on the road in a show-business family, 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 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 Theater, she revisited Europe and the Far East for more shows and films.

Later she became addicted to morphine.  While touring through Denmark in 1941, she was arrested by the Nazis and probably kept at Vestre F├Žngsel, a Danish prison in Copenhagen that was run by the Nazis, before being released on a prisoner exchange in May 1942.  According to jazz historian Scott Yanow, "she never emotionally recovered from the experience".  She later married Earl Edwards.  In the 1950s, she was unable to regain her former success.

Valaida Snow died of a brain hemorrhage on May 30, 1956 in New York City, backstage during a performance at the Palace Theater.

(Excerpt From Wikipedia)

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