New Orleans Jazz – News & Views – Kid Thomas

Kid Thomas Valentine's Day – trumpet – vocals and a bag of tricks! Born Reserve Louisiana 3rd February 1896. Died 16th June 1987 In New Orleans.

Kid Thomas was a band leader from 1922 onwards and led bands throughout Louisiana, but he was always based in New Orleans.

I want to quote from "The Penguin's Guide to Jazz on CD" by Richard Cook and Brian Morton. Their wonderful words can not be improved on this subject. "He came close to this wonderful profession with Zen simplicity, reducing the voice of New Orleans to its basics and creating a lifetime of work among them, an audible sound like angry anger, which created a dramatic drama and a musical depth.

Kid Thomas has made more number of amazing recordings, and many of them are available to you on CD now! But at first caution: music and musicians produce a sound like fine wine or coffee – it may take time to get a taste; but when you do you will become addicted to life.

Try the 1961 "Kid Thomas – George Lewis Ragtime Stompers" on GHB bcd-5. Classic real. Try "The December Band" from 1965 on GHB BCD-197 and BCD-198. Then try "New Orleans, The Living Legends" Kid Thomas and the rest in Algeria Stompers on Riverside OCJCCD-1833 -2 of 1961.

This is one of the rare occasions in which I have had a good fortune when I personally know with Thomas Kid Albert Burbank and Emmanuel Paul as my dear friends. In 1963 – 4 I toured with Kid Thomas and Emmanuelle Paul throughout the UK on their tour with Kid Martyn Ragtime. My payment to use my bus and driving it for many miles was a pleasure and a privilege, a privilege to play a session at Studio 51 the Ken Colyer Club with the representatives of the Gothic Jazz Band and Kid Thomas andn Emmanuel Paul. After much, back to Australia, it was a pleasure to renew their friendship with them when they were touring the show show – they shared the theater with Dizzy Gillespie. I always remember one of those non-jazz reporters at Sydney airport asking Art Blakey how he felt about playing a concert with these "primitive musicians". Art said, "It is a great honor for us to play at the same stage as these gentlemen.

The child Thomas Valentine was a mystery, although I spent long hours with him, his conversation was like a trumpet game: choppy, brief, and his. Only a few male melody line. Just one night in a hotel room in Melbourne, Australia with most of his band and some Sydney Jazz Club executives, including myself, allowed himself to leave. He told us wonderful stories about his early days as a gang leader in New Orleans, and the astonishing eccentricity of those musicians long ago on the vehicles. I wish I had a recording device, but again happily we have a lot of recorded music.

My first purchase was Riverside Kid Thomas and Muscat First Set, which I recommended earlier. Apart from the missing Emmanuelle Paul, this band had a long history of playing together. Put on the Panama rag, it's hotter than the fire furnaces! Gully House Blues can bring tears to the eyes! Sami Ben is the real drum player and I hope to write about him in a future article.

When the band stormed the song "Smile Darn You Smile" in St Pancras Town Hall, it was ecstasy, just like the record, and although Alonzo Stewart was not between Sammy Penn, the overall effect was electrified, and we knew we were in the presence of living legends.

Kid Thomas Valentine was an artist, and his bag of tricks was with him at all times. Slap sticks, maracas, tambourines, bonnets "cow's milk blues" and always the biggest smile New Orleans!

Quotations: A Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD by Richard Cook Brian Morton (Penguin Press)