Snow, Valaida

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Snow, Valaida

Snow, Valaida, early jazz trumpeter, singer; b. Chattanooga, Term., June 2, 1903; d. N.Y., May 30, 1956. Her mother was a music teacher. She began her professional career (c. 1920) appearing in Atlantic City and Philadelphia; she played a residency at Barren Wilkins’s during 1922, then toured with Will Masten’s Revue. Throughout the 1920s, she continued to sing, dance, and play trumpet in various shows throughout the U.S. In August 1926, she sailed to Shanghai to work as a specialty act with Jack Carter’s Band. After returning to the U.S., she worked in Chicago, then from 1929 toured through Russia, the Middle East, and Europe. After working in the Grand Terrace Reime (1933), she was featured in the Blackbirds of 1934 and traveled with this show to England in August 1934. She then worked with Ananias Berry as a double act in Los Angeles (summer 1935). While in Calif., Snow appeared in two films: Take It from Me and Irresistible You; she also appeared in the pre-war French film Alibi. After touring the Far East again, she played The Apollo, N.Y. (June 1936), returned to Britain, and from September 1936 began extensive touring in Europe, playing France, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. After touring Sweden (summer 1941), she was arrested by the Swedish police and subsequently deported. (She claimed she spent two years in a Nazi concentration camp, but this was never verified; a known heroin user, she may also have been arrested on drug charges.) She resumed her career at The Apollo, N.Y. (April 1943). She did extensive tours of clubs and theatres and then moved to Calif. (1945). From 1946-56, Snow continued to work regularly as a vocalist in concerts, shows, and clubs throughout the U.S., and resumed regular recordings. Her last engagement took place at the Palace Theatre, N.Y.; she collapsed at her home after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage; three weeks later she died in Kings County Hospital, N.Y. Her husband in the mid-1930s was dancer Ananias Berry (d. 1951); she later married Earle Edwards. Her sister, Lavaida, was also a musician.


Swing Is the Thing (1979).

—John Chilton/Lewis Porter