Valaida Snow Day

June 2, 1904 – May 30, 1956

A tribute to the unique and pioneering female trumpeter-singer

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Trumpeter-singer Valaida Snow was born June 2, 1900 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Valaida (whose sisters were named Lavaida and Alvaida) took music lessons from her mother and at 15 started playing trumpet in public.

Due to her physical beauty and singing skills, she was in shows in the 1920s including an early version of the Noble Sissle/Eubie Blake musical The Chocolate Dandies.

In 1926, Snow performed with Jack Carter’s band in Shanghai, in 1928 she appeared opposite Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines at Chicago’s Sunset Café, and in 1929 she performed in the Soviet Union, the Middle East and Europe.

Back in the U.S., Snow was in the Sissle/Blake revue Rhapsody In Black, recorded with the Washboard Rhythm Kings, and was based for a time in Chicago.

She moved to Europe in 1935 where she made a series of exciting swing records, her finest recordings, as a trumpeter-singer during 1935-40.

Foolishly staying in Europe during World War II, Snow was arrested and spent some time in a Danish prison before eventually returning to the U.S.

During her later years, she had a lower profile but made a series of vocal-oriented recordings and continued performing up until the time of her early death.

In one of the few film clips that feature her playing some trumpet, Valaida Snow performs “Patience And Fortitude” in 1946 with the Ali Baba Trio.

-Scott Yanow


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