Born in 1903 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Valaida Snow was a jazz musician who started her entertainment career at the young age of 15 and gained national and eventually international recognition during the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and early 50s. She was a member of such touring groups as “The Chocolate Dandies”, the “Blackbirds”, and the Will Mastin Trio. It was during these international tours that her other talents as musical arranger, trumpet player, and amateur actress emerged. Unfortunately it was also during one of her performances abroad that she was captured by Nazi soldiers in Denmark and forced to work in the Wester-Faengler concentration camp for two years until she was freed in a prisoner-swap. Despite her harrowing experience underneath Nazi control, Snow was determined to continue her musical career. During the late 1940s and early 1950s she signs with several recording labels, including Derby Records and Apollo Records, and produces popular singles like “Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone”. She regains success through her recordings and begins performing in the same musical revues that had made her famous during the 1920s. It was during one of these performances that she suffers irreversible brain damage from a cerebral hemorrhage and dies in June of 1956.
-written by Felicia Bevel
Valaida Snow at the height of her popularity, performing in Zurich, Switzerland in 1937, with the Derek Neville Band.Hans Spreng
Valaida Snow With Trumpet
Image Source (Top): - Leonard Feather Jazz Collection: University of Idaho Digital Initiatives - 1937