Kid Thomas

Kid Thomas (1897–1987), was an American jazz trumpeter and bandleader whose birth name was, Thomas Valentine.

Kid Thomas was born in Reserve, Louisiana and came to New Orleans in his youth. In the early 1920s, he gained a reputation as a hot trumpet man. Starting in 1926 he led his own band, for decades based in the New Orleans suburb of Algiers, Louisiana. The band was long popular with local dancers.

Kid Thomas had perhaps the city's longest lasting old-style traditional jazz dance band. Unlike many other musicians, Thomas was unaffected by the influence of Louis Armstrong and later developments of jazz, continuing to play in his distinctive hot, bluesy, sometimes percussive style. His style was that which is characterized often as, "New Orleans Jazz", in order to differentiate it from the influences that arose from other parts of the country through the years. He was always open to playing the popular tunes of the day (even into the rock & roll era) as he thought any good dance bandleader should do, but he played everything in a style of a New Orleans dance hall of the early 1920s.

Kid Thomas started attracting a wider following with his first recordings in the 1950s. His band played regularly at Preservation Hall from the 1960s through the 1980s. Kid Thomas also toured extensively for the Hall, including a Russian tour, and was often a guest at European clubs and festivals, working with various local bands as well as his own. During the 1960s Kid Thomas recorded extensively for the Jazz Crusade label both with his own band and with Big Bill Bissonnette's Easy Riders Jazz Band. He made more than 20 tours with the Easy Riders in the U.S. Northeast.

In the mid 1980s, as Kid Thomas's strength started to wane, Preservation Hall management brought in Wendell Brunious, at first as second trumpet. Brunious took over most of the trumpet playing in Kid Thomas's final year or so, although Kid Thomas continued to lead the band and keep rhythm with a slap stick.

He is not to be confused with the Chicago harmonica blues vocalist artist, Kid Thomas Watts.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 3rd, 1896 (New Orleans), Died June 16th, 1987

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1929 - 1930

Roles Represented in DAHR: banjo

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-50830 10-in. 4/16/1929 Over night blues Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor BVE-50831 10-in. 4/16/1929 Quality shout Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-50868 10-in. 4/28/1929 The ramble Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-50869 10-in. 4/28/1929 Moonlight blues Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal chorus instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-50870 10-in. 4/28/1929 Charlie's idea Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-50877 10-in. 4/29/1929 Stuff Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-54477 10-in. 10/21/1929 Harlem Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-54478 10-in. 10/21/1929 Cuttin' up Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-54585 10-in. 2/3/1930 New kinda blues Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio instrumentalist, banjo  
Victor PBVE-54586 10-in. 2/3/1930 California swing Paul Howard ; Quality Serenaders Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, banjo  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Thomas, Kid," accessed August 8, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103625.

Thomas, Kid. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103625.

"Thomas, Kid." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 8 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103625

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