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a1101_barbara_dane_03Barbara Dane (born May 12, 1927) is an American folk, blues, and jazz singer.

"Bessie Smith in stereo," wrote jazz critic Leonard Feather in the late 1950s. Time said of Dane: "The voice is pure, rich … rare as a 20 karat diamond" and quoted Louis Armstrong’s exclamation upon hearing her at the Pasadena jazz festival: "Did you get that chick? She’s a gasser!"

Career as singer

Moving to San Francisco in 1949, Dane began raising her own family and singing her folk and topical songs around town as well as on radio and television. A jazz revival was then shaking the town, and by the 1950s she became a familiar figure at clubs along the city’s Embarcadero with her own versions of women’s blues and jazz tunes. New Orleans jazz musicians like George Lewis and Kid Ory and locals like Turk Murphy, Burt Bales, Bob Mielke and others invited her onto the bandstand regularly. Her first professional jazz job was with Turk Murphy at the Tin Angel in 1956.

a1101_barbara_dane_01To Ebony, she seemed "startlingly blonde, especially when that powerful dusky alto voice begins to moan of trouble, two-timing men and freedom … with stubborn determination, enthusiasm and a basic love for the underdog, [she is] making a name for herself … aided and abetted by some of the oldest names in jazz who helped give birth to the blues." The seven-page Ebony article was filled with photos of Dane working with Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Clara Ward, Mama Yancey, Little Brother Montgomery and others.

By 1959, Louis Armstrong had asked Time magazine readers: "Did you get that chick? She’s a gasser!" and invited her to appear with him on national television. She appeared with Louis Armstrong on the Timex All-Star Jazz Show hosted by Jackie Gleason on January 7, 1959. She toured the East Coast with Jack Teagarden, appeared in Chicago with Art Hodes, Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon and others, played New York with Wilbur De Paris and his band, and appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as a solo guest artist. Other national TV work included The Steve Allen Show, Bobby Troop’s Stars of Jazz, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

In 1961, the singer opened her own club, Sugar Hill: Home of the Blues, on San Francisco’s Broadway in the North Beach district, with the idea of creating a venue for the blues in a tourist district where a wider audience could hear it. There Dane performed regularly with her two most constant musical companions: Kenny "Good News" Whitson on piano and cornet and Wellman Braud, former Ellington bassist. Among her guest artists were Jimmy Rushing, Mose Allison, Mama Yancey, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Big Mama Thornton, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.

In her speech to the GI Movement of the Vietnam War Era (whose text can be found in the booklet that’s included in Paredon Records’ FTA! Songs of the GI Resistance vinyl album of 1970), Barbara Dane said, "I was too stubborn to hire one of the greed-head managers, probably because I’m a woman who likes to speak for herself. I always made my own deals and contracts, and after figuring out the economics of it, I was free to choose when and where I worked, able to spend lots more time with my three children and doing political work, and even brought home more money in the end, by not going for the "bigtime." I did make some really nice records, because I was able to choose and work with wonderfully gifted musicians."

Political activism

She continued to weave in appearances as a solo performer on the coffeehouse circuit with her folk-style guitar. She also stepped up her work in the movements for peace and justice as the struggle for civil rights spread and the Vietnam war escalated. She sang at peace demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and throughout the US and toured anti-war GI coffeehouses all over the world. In 1966, Barbara Dane became the first U.S. musician to tour post-revolutionary Cuba.

In 1970 Dane founded Paredon Records, a label specializing in international protest music. She produced 45 albums, including three of her own, over a 12-year period. The label was later incorporated into Smithsonian-Folkways, a label of the Smithsonian Institution, and is available through their catalog.

In 1978, Dane appeared with Pete Seeger at a Rally in New York for striking coal miners.

Blues singer and role model

When she was in her late 70s, Philip Elwood, jazz critic of the San Francisco Examiner, said of her: "Dane is back and beautiful…she has an immense voice, remarkably well-tuned…capable of exquisite presentations regardless of the material. As a gut-level blues singer she is without compare." Blues writer Lee Hildebrand calls her "…perhaps the finest living interpreter of the classic blues of the 20’s." In a 2010 profile on Barbara produced by Steven Short of KALW in San Francisco, Bonnie Raitt said "she’s always been a role model and a hero of mine – musically and politically. I mean, the arc of her life so informs mine that – she’s – I really can’t think of anyone I admire [more], the way that she’s lived her life." The interview is archived on the KALW website.

Text from Wikipedia 

 

Barbara Dane – Livin’ with the Blues – 1959 – The whole LP

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a1018_nancy wilson_01

Nancy Wilson (born February 20, 1937) is an American singer with more than 70 albums, and three Grammy Awards. She has been labeled a singer of blues, jazz, cabaret and pop; a "consummate actress"; and "the complete entertainer." The title she prefers, however, is song stylist. She has received many nicknames including "Sweet Nancy", "The Baby", "Fancy Miss Nancy" and "The Girl With the Honey-Coated Voice".

Career

When Wilson met Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, he suggested that she should move to New York City, believing that the big city would be the venue in which her career could bloom. In 1959, she relocated to New York with a goal of obtaining Cannonball’s a1018_nancy wilson_04manager John Levy as her manager and Capitol Records as her label. Within four weeks of her arrival in New York she got her first big break, a call to fill in for Irene Reid at "The Blue Morocco". The club booked Wilson on a permanent basis; she was singing four nights a week and working as a secretary for the New York Institute of Technology during the day. John Levy sent demos of "Guess Who I Saw Today", "Sometimes I’m Happy", and two other songs to Capitol. Capitol Records signed her in 1960.

Wilson’s debut single, "Guess Who I Saw Today", was so successful that between April 1960 and July 1962 Capitol Records released five Nancy Wilson albums. Her first album, Like in Love, displayed her talent in Rhythm and Blues, with the hit R&B song "Save Your Love for Me." Adderley suggested that she should steer away from her original pop style and gear her music toward jazz and ballads. In 1962, they collaborated, producing the album Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley, which propelled her to national prominence, and Wilson would later appear on Adderley’s live album In Person (1968). Between March 1964 and June 1965, four of Wilson’s albums hit the Top 10 on Billboards Top LPs chart. In 1963 "Tell Me The Truth" became her first truly major hit, leading up to her performance at the Coconut Grove in 1964 – the turning point of her career, garnering critical acclaim from a1018_nancy wilson_02coast to coast. TIME said of her, "She is, all at once, both cool and sweet, both singer and storyteller." In 1964 Wilson released what became her most successful hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am", which peaked at No. 11. From 1963 to 1971 Wilson logged eleven songs on the Hot 100, including two Christmas singles. However, "Face It Girl, It’s Over" was the only remaining non-Christmas song to crack the Top 40 for Wilson (#29, in 1968).

After making numerous television guest appearances, Wilson eventually got her own series on NBC, The Nancy Wilson Show (1967–1968), which won an Emmy.Over the years she has appeared on many popular television shows from I Spy (more or less playing herself as a Las Vegas singer in the 1966 episode "Lori," and a similar character in the 1973 episode "The Confession" of The F.B.I.), Room 222, Hawaii Five-O, Police Story, The Jack Paar Program, The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show (1966), The Danny Kaye Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Kraft Music Hall, The Sinbad Show, The Cosby Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Soul Food, New York Undercover, and recently Moesha, and The Parkers. She also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffith Show,The Tonight Show, The Arsenio Hall Show and The Flip Wilson Show. She was in the 1993 Robert Townsend‘s The Meteor Man and in the film, The Big Score. She also appeared on The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars and the March of Dime Telethon. She was signed by Capitol records in the late 1970s and in an attempt to broaden her appeal she cut the album Life, Love and Harmony, an album of soulful, funky dance cuts that included the track "Sunshine", which was to become one of her most sought-after recordings (albeit among supporters of the rare soul scene with whom she would not usually register). In 1977 she recorded the theme song for the The Last Dinosaur, a made for TV movie which opened in theaters in Japan.

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In the 1980s, she recorded five albums for Japanese labels because she preferred recording live, and American labels frequently did not give her that option. She gained such wide popularity that she was selected as the winner of the annual Tokyo Song Festivals.

In 1982 she recorded with Hank Jones and the Great Jazz Trio. In that same year she recorded with Griffith Park Band whose members included Chick Corea and Joe Henderson. In 1987 she participated in a PBS show entitled Newport Jazz ‘87 as the singer of a jazz trio with John Williams and Roy McCurdy.

a1018_nancy wilson_06In 1982 she also signed with CBS, her albums here including The Two of Us (1984), duets with Ramsey Lewis produced by Stanley Clarke; Forbidden Lover (1987), including the title-track duet with Carl Anderson; and A Lady with a Song, which became her 52nd album release in 1989. In 1989 Nancy Wilson in Concert played as a television special.

In the early 1990s, Wilson recorded an album paying tribute to Johnny Mercer with co-producer Barry Manilow entitled With My Lover Beside Me. In this decade she also recorded two other albums, Love, Nancy and her sixtieth album If I Had it My Way. In the late 1990s, she teamed up with MCG Jazz, a youth-education program of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, nonprofit, minority-directed, arts and learning organization located in Pittsburgh, PA.

In 1995, Wilson performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the San Francisco Jazz Festival in 1997. In 1999, she hosted a show in honor of Ella Fitzgerald entitled Forever Ella on the A & E Network.

All the proceeds from 2001’s A Nancy Wilson Christmas went to support the work of MCG Jazz. Wilson was the host on NPR‘s Jazz Profiles, from 1996 to 2005. This series profiled the legends and legacy of jazz through music, interviews and commentary. Wilson and the program were the recipients of the George Foster Peabody Award in 2001.

Wilson’s second and third album with MCG Jazz, R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal) (2005), and Turned to Blue (2007), both won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

Awards and honors

In 1964, Wilson won her first Grammy Award for the best rhythm and blues recording for the album How Glad I Am. She was featured as a "grand diva" of jazz in a 1992 edition of Essence. In the same year, she also received the Whitney Young, Jr. Award from the Urban League. In 1998, she was a recipient of the Playboy Reader Poll Award for best jazz vocalist.

a1018_nancy wilson_07In 1986, she was dubbed the Global Entertainer of the Year by the World Conference of Mayors. She received an award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in 1993; the NAACP Image Award – Hall of Fame Award in 1998, and was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1999. She received the Trumpet Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1994. Wilson received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1990, at 6541 Hollywood Blvd. She received honorary degrees from the Berklee School of Music and Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Wilson has a street named after her in her hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio. She co-founded the Nancy Wilson Foundation, which exposes inner-city children to the country.

Wilson was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships award in 2004, the highest honors that the United States government bestows upon jazz musicians. In 2005 she received the NAACP Image Awards for Best Recording Jazz Artist. She received the 2005 UNCF Trumpet Award celebrating African-American achievement, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP in Chicago, and Oprah Winfrey‘s Legends Award.

In September 2005, Wilson was inducted on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Wilson was a major figure incivil rights marches of the 1960s. Wilson said, "This award means more to me than anything else I have ever received."

Times.com, August 20, 2006: "It’s been a long career for the polished Wilson, whose first albums appeared in the 1960s, and she faces that truth head-on in such numbers as ‘These Golden Years’ and ‘I Don’t Remember Ever Growing Up’. Shorter breathed these days, she can still summon a warm, rich sound and vividly tell a song’s story. With a big band behind her in ‘Taking a Chance on Love‘, she also shows there’s plenty of fire in her autumnal mood".

At the Hollywood Bowl, August 29, 2007, Wilson celebrated her 70th birthday with an all-star event hosted by Arsenio Hall. Ramsey Lewis and his trio performed "To Know Her Is To Love Her".

Text from Wikipedia 

Nancy Wilson + Carl Anderson at the Carnegie Hall (complete)

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960_MamieSmithMamie Smith (née Robinson) (May 26, 1883 – September 16, 1946) was an American vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress, who appeared in several films late in her career. As a vaudeville singer she performed a number of styles, including jazz and blues. She entered blues history by being the first African-American artist to make vocal blues recordings in 1920. Willie "The Lion" Smith (no relation) explained the background to that recording in his autobiography,Music on My Mind

Musical career

On August 10, 1920, in New York City, Smith recorded a set of songs written by the African-American songwriter Perry Bradford, including "Crazy Blues" and "It’s Right Here For You (If You Don’t Get It, ‘Tain’t No Fault of Mine)", on Okeh Records. It was the first recording of vocal blues by an African-American artist, and the record became a best seller, selling a million copies in less than a year. To the surprise of record companies, large numbers of the record were purchased by African Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records. Because of the historical significance of "Crazy Blues", it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994, and, in 2005, was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

Although other African Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were African-American artists performing music which had a substantial following with European-American audiences. The success of Smith’s record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues. It also opened up the music industry to recordings by, and for, African Americans in other genres.

Smith continued to make a series of popular recordings for Okeh throughout the 1920s. In 1924 she made three releases for Ajax Records which, while heavily promoted, did not sell well. She also made some records for Victor. She toured the United States and Europe with her band "Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds" as part of "Mamie Smith’s Struttin’ Along Review". She was billed as "The Queen of the Blues". This billing of Mamie Smith was soon one-upped by Bessie Smith, who called herself "The Empress of the Blues." And like Bessie did, Mamie too found that the new mass medium of radio provided a way to gain additional fans, especially in cities with predominantly white audiences. For example, she and several members of her band performed on KGW in Portland OR in early May 1923, and she earned very positive reviews.

Various recording lineups of her Jazz Hounds included (from August 1920 to October 1921) Jake Green, Curtis Moseley, Garvin Bushell, Johnny Dunn, Dope Andrews, Ernest Elliot, Porter Grainger, Leroy Parker, Bob Fuller, and (June 1922-January 1923) Coleman Hawkins, Everett Robbins, Johnny Dunn, Herschel Brassfield, Herb Flemming, Buster Bailey Cutie Perkins, Joe Smith, Bubber Miley and Cecil Carpenter.

While recording with her Jazz Hounds, she also recorded as "Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Band", comprising George Bell, Charles Matson, Nathan Glantz, Larry Briers,Jules Levy, Jr., Joe Samuels, together with musicians from the Jazz Hounds, including Coleman, Fuller and Carpenter.

Film career and later years

Mamie Smith appeared in an early sound film, Jailhouse Blues, in 1929. She retired from recording and performing in 1931. She returned to performing in 1939 to appear in the motion picture Paradise in Harlem produced by her husband Jack Goldberg. She appeared in further films, including Mystery in Swing, Sunday Sinners(1940), Stolen Paradise (1941), Murder on Lenox Avenue (1941), and Because I Love You (1943). She died in 1946, in New York.

Text from Wikipedia 

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Dorothy Lucille Tipton6

Billy Lee Tipton (December 29, 1914 – January 21, 1989) was an American jazz musician and bandleader. Born Dorothy Lucille Tipton, he is also notable for the post-mortem discovery that, though he lived his adult life as a man, he was biologically female.

Early work

In 1936, Tipton was the leader of a band playing on KFXR. In 1938, Tipton joined Louvenie’s Western Swingbillies, a band that played on KTOK and at Brown’s Tavern. In 1940 he was touring the Midwest playing at dances with Dorothy Lucille Tipton5Scott Cameron’s band. In 1941 he began a two and a half-year run performing at Joplin, Missouri‘s Cotton Club with George Meyer’s band, then toured for a time with Ross Carlyle, then played for two years in Texas.

In 1949, Tipton began touring the Pacific Northwest with George Meyer. While this tour was far from glamorous, the band’s appearances at Roseburg, Oregon‘s Shalimar Room were recorded by a local radio station, and so recordings exist of Tipton’s work during this time, including "If I Knew Then" and "Sophisticated Swing". The trio’s signature song was "Flying Home", performed in a close imitation of Benny Goodman’s band.

As George Meyer’s band became more successful, they began getting more prestigious work, performing with The Ink Spots, the Delta Rhythm Boys, and Billy Eckstineat the Boulevard Club in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Bandleader

Tipton began playing piano alone at the Elks club in Longview, Washington. In Longview, he started the Billy Tipton Trio, which consisted of Tipton on piano, Dick O’Neil on drums, and Kenny Richards (and later Ron Kilde) on bass. The trio gained local popularity.

During a performance on tour at King’s Supper Club in Santa Barbara, California, a talent scout from Tops Records heard them play and got them a contract. The Billy Tipton Trio recorded two albums of jazz standards for Tops: Sweet Georgia Brown and Billy Tipton Plays Hi-Fi on Piano, both released early in 1957. Among the pieces performed were "Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man", "Willow Weep for Me", "What’ll I Do", and "Don’t Blame Me". In 1957, the albums sold 17,678 copies, a "respectable" sum for a small independent record label.

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After the albums’ success, the Billy Tipton Trio was offered a position as house band at the Holiday Hotel in Reno, Nevada, and Tops Records invited the trio to record four more albums. Tipton declined both offers, choosing instead to move to Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a talent broker and the trio was the house band at Allen’s Tin Pan Alley, performing weekly. He played mainly swing standards rather than the jazz he preferred. His performances included skits in the vaudeville tradition, in which he imitated celebrities such as Liberace and Elvis Presley. In some of these sketches, he played a little girl. He mentored young musicians at the Dave Sobol Theatrical Agency.

In the late 1970s, worsening arthritis forced Tipton to retire from music.

Personal life

Dorothy Lucille Tipton4Early in his career, Tipton presented as a male only professionally, continuing to present as a woman otherwise. He spent those early years living with a woman named Non Earl Harrell, in a relationship that other musicians thought of as lesbian. The relationship ended in 1942. Tipton’s next relationship, with a singer known only as "June", lasted for several years.

For seven years, Tipton lived with Betty Cox, who was 19 when they became involved. According to Cox, they had a heterosexual relationship. Betty remembered Tipton as "the most fantastic love of my life." Tipton kept the secret of his extrinsic sexual characteristics from Betty by inventing a story of having been in a serious car accident resulting in damaged genitals and broken ribs, and that it was necessary to bind the damaged chest to protect it. From then on, this was what he would tell the women in his life.

Tipton was never formally married in a ceremony, but several women had drivers’ licenses identifying them as Mrs. Tipton. In 1960, Tipton ended his relationship with Cox to settle down with nightclub dancer and stripper Kitty Kelly (later known as Kitty Oakes), who was known professionally as "The Irish Venus". They were involved with their local PTA and with the Boy Scouts. They adopted three sons, John, Scott, and William. After Tipton’s death, Kitty gave several interviews about him and their relationship. In early interviews, she said, "He gave up everything… There were certain rules and regulations in those days if you were going to be a musician," in reference to breaking into the 1920−30s music industry. William described Tipton as a good father who loved to go on Scout camping trips.

Their adopted sons became difficult to manage during their adolescence. Because of the couple’s ongoing arguments over how they should raise the boys, Tipton left Kitty in the late 1970s, moved into a mobile home with their sons, and resumed an old relationship with a woman named Maryann. He remained there, living in poverty, until his death.

Death and aftermath

Dorothy Lucille Tipton2In 1989, at the age of 74, Tipton had symptoms he attributed to emphysema and refused to call a doctor. He was actually suffering from a hemorrhaging peptic ulcer, which, untreated, was fatal. It was while paramedics were trying to save Tipton’s life, with son William looking on, that William learned that his father had female anatomy. Tipton was pronounced dead at Valley General Hospital. The coroner shared this with the rest of the family. In an attempt to keep the secret, Kitty arranged for his body to be cremated, but later after financial offers from the media, Kitty and one of their sons went public with the story. The first newspaper article was published the day after Tipton’s funeral and it was quickly picked up by wire services. Stories about Tipton appeared in a variety of papers including tabloids such as National Enquirer and Star, as well as more reputable papers such as New York Magazine and The Seattle Times. Tipton’s family even made talk show appearances.

Two wills were left by Billy Tipton: one handwritten and not notarized that left everything to William Jr.; and the second, notarized, leaving everything to Jon Clark. A court upheld the first will, and William inherited almost everything, with John and Scott receiving one dollar each. According to a 2009 episode of the documentary program The Will: Family Secrets Revealed, which featured interviews with all three sons, it was revealed that a final court judgment awarded all three sons an equal share of his wife Kitty Tipton’s estate (not Billy Tipton), which, after lawyers’ fees, amounted to $35,000 for each son.

Text from Wikipedia

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703_camille howardCamille Howard (March 29, 1914 – March 10, 1993) was an American R&B pianist and singer.

Howard was born in Galveston, Texas. When in California in the 1940s, she became the featured piano player with Roy Milton’s Solid Senders, playing on all their early hits on the Juke Box and later the Specialty record label, including "R. M. Blues" (1946).

After that record‘s success, she featured on more of Milton’s records, occasionally as singer. Record label head Art Rupe also began recording her as a solo artist, with her biggest hit coming with "X-Temporaneous Boogie".

She continued to record successfully in the early 1950s, but the growth of rock and roll and her own religious convictions ended her career.

Howard died in Los Angeles in March 1993

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The Boogie And The Blues 
Camille Howard
 
Rock Me Daddy Vol. 1 
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2006
Blues Jazz, Jump Blues, Early R&B
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Rock Me Daddy
Camille Howard 
 
Rock Me Daddy Vol. 1
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2006
Blues Jazz, Jump Blues, Early R&B
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The Mood I’m In
Camille Howard 

Rock Me Daddy Vol. 1
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2006
Blues Jazz, Jump Blues, Early R&B

The cd is a 25-song reissue of her 1947-52 Specialty material, about half previously unreleased. Includes "You Don’t Love Me" and "Money Blues," but not the chart hits "Fiesta In Mexico" and "XTemporaneous Boogie." Perhaps too suave and refined for the R&B/rock era, and as comfortable with jazzy ballads as boogies, Howard was nonetheless an important, and nowadays overlooked, star of the transitional era between jump blues and R&B.

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562_snow

Trumpet player, singer and dancer – the woman who became so adept, so quickly at the trumpet that she was dubbed “Little Louis” after Louis Armstrong, who said she was the second best player in the world (after himself!).

Her career soared in the 1920s and she toured the world, playing in North America, Europe and Asia, and reached even greater heights in the 1930s when she was the toast of Paris and London.

She was emotionally scarred by her experiences in WWII and became addicted to morphine – in 1941, while touring in Denmark, she was arrested by the Nazis and kept in a Nazi-run Danish prison until may 1942, when she was released in a prisoner exchange.

Valaida continued to perform, however – she finally succumbed to a brain haemorrage backstage while at the Palace Theatre in New York.Fortunately there is a significant recorded body of her work, much of it available on Youtube.

Here’s a link to a small selection of her recordings and for more on her life and career, here’s her Jazzitalia entry.

Text and image found at Anything Goes

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