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