[Dixielandjazz] Valaida Snow

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 23 22:46:38 PST 2004

There is a wealth of infortmation on the web about Valaida Snow. Much of
it seems to believe that she was indeed a prisoner in a German
Concentration camp for 18 months.

My favorite among the net info is this story on her "perfect pitch".

Robert Kimball and William Bolcom in the 1973 book, REMINISCING WITH
SISSLE AND BLAKE, recall Valaida's uncannily perfect pitch:

“Eubie Blake always used an A-440 tuning fork. One day on the train
Valaida heard him strike the fork and said, ‘Mr. Blake, your tuning
fork’s flat.’ Blake looked at her incredulously -- how can a tuning fork
be flat? ‘I say your tuning fork’s flat,’ she insisted. "At the next
town Blake grabbed Valaida and ran off to the nearest music shop. The
music dealer got a tuning fork, struck the two forks together and
winced. Then he struck one, then the other. Finally, he took Blake’s
fork and sighted down its side. ‘She’s right,’ he said; ‘it’s a tiny
hair bent.’ Evidently, Blake’s tuning fork had gotten slightly out of
true, but the difference in pitch could only have been extremely

Googling turns up all sorts of information about this "forgotten" woman
in jazz.

Steve Barbone

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