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1937-1940

Valaida Snow

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Album Review

When Valaida Snow played her trumpet, she sounded a bit like Herman Autrey, Emmett Berry, or Shad Collins. As a singer she could be compared with Lil Hardin Armstrong, Ethel Waters, Adelaide Hall, or Josephine Baker, depending upon the material in question. Established in London as a reigning queen of trumpet and sweet-to-hot vocals, Snow continued to take on songs that were closely associated with Fats Waller, such as "Sweet Heartache," which was given its all-time best interpretation by Fats Waller & His Rhythm band three months prior to the rendition heard here. On the London sessions during July of 1937, Snow was backed with a seven-piece swing band. Trumpeter Johnny Claes rode shotgun trumpet, as it were, providing support while Snow sang in her pretty, pert voice. This woman's music grows on you, and several of the performances on this disc — "I Got Rhythm" and the breakneck "Tiger Rag" in particular — are swing jams of the highest order. Hearing Snow's sultry presentation of "Caravan" is an experience not to be missed. By this time — 1939 — our singer and trumpeter had made her way into Scandinavia, recording four sides for the Sonora label in Stockholm. She was even presented with a gold trumpet by Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands! The last four titles on this disc find Snow visiting Copenhagen in July of 1940, cheerfully recording for Tono Records and apparently unaware that the forces of Nazi Germany were about to alter her life in the rudest manner imaginable. The rest of the Valaida Snow story can be found on the third and last volume of her complete recordings, Classics 1343.

Biography

Born: 02 June 1903 in Chattanooga, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

If fate had not seemingly conspired against her, Valaida Snow might well be counted among the greatest entertainers of the early 20th century; instead, she remains little known outside of an avid cult following. A gifted blues vocalist and multi-instrumentalist also noted for her skills as an arranger, Snow was born on June 2, 1903, in Chattanooga, TN (although other sources have stated otherwise). She was the product of a musical family; her mother, a music teacher, taught Valaida and her sisters...
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1937-1940, Valaida Snow
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