Born: February 3, 1896 | Died: June 16, 1987 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Kid Thomas Valentine - trumpet
Kid Thomas is still revered today in Algiers Louisiana. Jazz musicians of the 1920s referred to Algiers as “over da river” or the “Brooklyn of the South,” the latter for its proximity to New Orleans as compared to New York and Brooklyn, both separated by a river. Algiers Point has a long, rich history of African American, French, Spanish, German, Irish, and Italian/Sicilian residents. Algiers, the second oldest neighborhood in New Orleans after the French Quarter, was the site of the slave holding areas, newly arrived from Africa, the powder magazine, and slaughterhouse of the early 18th century. Many of the Jazz venues have long since disappeared, as have many of the musicians’ homes. Most of the saloons, and dance halls are all but forgotten now by the modern-day Algiers’ residents. Gone are the days of Jazz funerals every week, the sound of dancing feet in the juke joints, and dance halls, and corner saloons.
Kid Thomas Valentine was born February 3, 1896, in Reserve, Louisiana. His father, Fernand Pete Valentine, was a talented player of most brass instruments and was bandmaster of the Pickwick Brass Band. Kid Thomas began playing trumpet at an early age and when he was in his twenties moved to Algiers, across the river from New Orleans, where he joined the Elton Theodore Band. He quickly became the band's star attraction and in 1926 took over as leader. Valentine chose to stay in Algiers, content to be the town's leading player in jazz. Perhaps as a result of this small but important distancing from New Orleans, Valentine also remained largely independent of the developing trends in jazz trumpet playing, and was one of a small number who displayed little influence of Louis Armstrong.
His band, the Algiers Stompers, played on through the decades, often resident at the town's Moulin Rouge. Despite his comparative isolation from the centers of jazz, he was swept up by the second wave of revivalism and in the 60s made many overseas visits to Europe and Japan. He continued to play, often back in Algiers, into the 80s.He also recorded quite prolifically and is available in releases under a variety of labels. A confident, assertive player with incisive attack, his many recordings offer an intriguing insight into the sometimes overlooked variety of styles within the early jazz tradition.
Kid Thomas died on June 16, 1987, in New Orleans, Louisiana.