Thomas Valentine, commonly known as Kid Thomas (3 February 1896 – 18 June 1987) was a jazz trumpeter and bandleader. Kid Thomas was born in Reserve, Louisiana and came to New Orleans in his youth. He gained a reputation as a hot trumpet man in the early 1920s. 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. 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 played everything in a style of a New Orleans dance hall of the early 1920s. Kid Thomas Valentine 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. 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 over 20 tours with the Easy Riders in the U.S. Northeast. Many of these recordings are now available on CD on the GHB or Jazz Crusade labels. In the mid 1980s, as 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 Thomas’s final year or so, though Kid Thomas continued to lead the band, keep rhythm with a slap stick, and blow the occasional chorus if he was feeling up to it.
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