Written by Terry Brown
Part two (conclusion) of this article can be found here.
Pianist/composer Reginald Foresythe remains a somewhat enigmatic figure on the music scene of the 1930’s. He led mainstream dance bands, but at the time, he was probably better known for his so called ‘New Music’, in which he developed forward looking approaches to jazz writing, instrumentation and orchestration. His quirky and often oddly titled compositions remain a sometimes difficult terrain to navigate in terms of expectations. They are not quite jazz, swing, or dance music, but contain elements of all three; they frequently use instruments more likely to be found in a symphony orchestra; the scores are often complex and classically influenced. But if you’re looking for something unusual and innovative in the way of vintage popular music, Foresythe comes highly recommended.
Reginald Charles Foresythe was born on 28 May 1907. His father, Charles Albert Foresythe was an African barrister from Lagos, in Sierra Leone, and despite Reginald’s own assertions that his mother was German, she was in fact of Scottish origins. The lady in question, Charlotte Annie Falk, was then living in his home at, 15, Hetley Road, Shepherd’s Bush in West London, (possibly as a housekeeper, at least initially). Charles and Charlotte Foresythe lived as man and wife and eventually married on 9th September 1909. They went on to give Reginald a sister, Cassandra, born on 25 July 1910. It appears that the family planned to live in Lagos as the African World newspaper for 7 June 1913 notes, Charlotte, baby Cassandra and Master R. C. Foresythe travelling to Lagos, Sierra Leone on 4 June 1913. This journey was presumably to join Charles who had gone ahead and travelled to Lagos at an earlier date. Sadly, Reginald’s father Charles died within a year of their arrival, (in unknown circumstances), and Charlotte and her two children returned to the UK a year later, arriving on 16 July 1914. Charlotte’s financial legacy appears to have been reasonably substantial as she set up the family home, in some style at 33, Curzon Street, in London’s West End.
Reginald received a private education, as well as piano and composition tuition, something at which he excelled and by the age of 8, he was writing his own short pieces for piano. He gained his first performance experience playing Saturday night dances at Reading Town Hall, during his holidays from school at Leigh on Sea. According to his friend, Geoffrey Marne, it was here that Foresythe, was, ‘brought into contact, not with dance musicians, but with an ex-army clarinetist, and others with rather irregular ideas of dance music’. Marne goes on to say, ‘But Reggie knew even less about jazz than they did. Result: they decided to find another pianist!’ When Foresythe left school in 1923, his language abilities including French, German and Spanish landed him a job with a Translating Bureau in the City of London. Again according to Geoffrey Marne, Foresythe, ‘After hours at the office, would occasionally do a little semi-professional musical work as a very casual pastime’.
But Foresythe’s progress was about to receive a considerable boost when in the summer of 1928, Foresythe received a telephone call from a representative of American black singer, Zaidee Jackson, who had heard Foresythe’s playing in London, and was desparate to recruit a pianist for a night club she was opening there, that very weekend. Reginald dashed over the channel and Ms Jackson, liked what she heard and took Foresythe on as her accompanist. A little later, he returned with her to London, and they both went into cabaret for a season at the Piccadilly Hotel. Whilst there, Foresythe struck up a friendship with leading Harlem musical theatre tenor, Walter Richardson, who had come to London to play, ‘Uncle Ned’ in “Virginia”, a musical comedy which opened at the Palace Theatre on 24 October 1928. Urbane and cultured, Richardson, the son of a Methodist minister was born on 12 September 1891 in Winston-Salem, New Connecticut. He studied at Claffin University in South Carolina and later took medicine at Howard University in Washington. Reginald discovered in Richardson a kindred spirit with both men holding forthright views on equality and racism. Following the run of ‘Virginia’, Foresythe was invited by Richardson, (and his wife), to become his accompanist and with Foresythe eager to see the world, they embarked on a tour abroad, taking in much of Europe and Italy where eventually, via South Africa, they reached Melbourne, Australia on 22 July 1929. Richardson was originally booked to play ‘Joe’ in a production of ‘Showboat’ in Adelaide, but his tenor voice was deemed unsuitable for what is essentially a bass role, and consequently both he and Foresythe were booked by Australian impresario, J.C. Williamson, on a vaudeville tour. The pair made their debut at Adelaide’s Theatre Royal, on 10 August 1929, and both spoke in an article appearing in the Adelaide Advertiser, shortly after opening. Under a banner headline, ‘Roll Away Clouds’, (one of Richardson’s songs from, ‘Virginia’), appears a second headline, ‘A Negro Singers’ Hope’. There follows a fascinating article which is worth quoting at length as it not only provides an insight into Richardson’s and Foresythe’s views on race issues, but also highlights the inherent racism of the reporter concerned. In the article Richardson, ‘Hoped to roll away something of the cloud of racial prejudice against the negro by proving that negroes can not only be singers and entertainers, but gentlemen’. ‘Culture is something more than skin deep’, he asserted. Foresythe referred to his childhood in Lagos, and according to the reporter spoke, ‘in a singularly cultured manner’.
The article continued, ‘The two men present a remarkable contrast. Both are tall, but whereas Richardson is of the massive type with broad features, the other is slight and there is a curiously compact look about his long, narrow head. They consider that the American Negro has more hope of racial homogeneity than his African brother. Mr Foresythe who has studied native languages, pointed out that in his own experience he knew of more than 200 African dialects, each one of which would be unintelligible to the man of another tribe or district. These could be narrowed down to five distinct languages, and the only hope of African unity lay in building up a common language from these. In America the Negroes spoke English, and had superimposed their own peculiar inflections and pauses upon it. Mr Foresythe hopes later to be associated with Mr. Richardson in a series of Negro spiritual recitals. There were no spirituals in Africa, but the African recognised the call of his brothers lay in these yearning folk songs conceived and handed on in an alien tongue, and they picked them up very quickly. They had originally been handed on from one to the other on the cotton fields where they started, and now they formed a distinct branch of musical literature, and connoisseurs had been struck by their unerring rhythm, and, above all by their instinctive melody. Singer and pianist both agreed that it took a Negro musician, actually to write them down, and they were emphatic that they should never be heard on a vaudeville stage. Quiet well-dressed and gentlemanly, Walter Richardson and Reginald Foresythe speak for their people, even when they are silent’.
Richardson and Foresythe continued their vaudeville tour over the balance of the year, going into, ‘The Vanities’, a review at Melbourne’s Tivoli Theatre, later in August. The Melbourne Argus for 2 September 1929, reported, ‘Mr Walter Richardson, tenor, sings a number of songs including, Chloe, to which Mr Reginald Forsythe, (sic), plays a very curious accompaniment on the piano’. Into October the duo played at Sydney’s Palace Theatre, finishing in November. After the Christmas break, on 9 January 1930, Richardson, his wife Viola and Foresythe left Sydney and headed for the US, where Richardson had convinced Foresythe his future lay. They stopped over in Honolulu from 23 January and then Foresythe continued on alone arriving in California on 31 January 1930. Foresythe quickly found work as a pianist with Paul Howard’s Quality Serenaders, then based at the Kentucky Club. This superb band included Lionel Hampton, (on drums), Charlie Lawrence, alto, and trombonist, Lawrence Brown. Foresythe made his first recordings with this group on 3 February 1930. Foresythe also found work in Hollywood working on the myriad of early talkies being produced, and whilst undertaking film session work for United Artist’s, Foresythe was fortunate in having one of his earlier compositions, Working Song, used in the great director D.W.Griffith’s film, ‘Abraham Lincoln’, although Foresythe received no credit. Meanwhile Foresythe had discovered his love and affinity with the jazz idiom whilst with the Quality Serenaders, and after moving with them to the Monmartre Club in Hollywood and making more recordings with them in June 1930, he decided his immediate future lay in the US on the black music scene. He left the Quality Serenaders and returned to the UK for a few weeks in June 1930 to finalise his move and whilst in London renewed his friendship with Zaidee Jackson, accompaning her on a number of her recordings for Parlophone. Shortly afterwards Foresythe arrived back in America, and as the year closed he took the opportunity to tour particularly, the Southern States to gain an insight into the living conditions of black Americans as well as seeking out jazz and blues musicians to gather ideas and material. On Christmas Eve 1930, Foresythe arrived in Chicago, second only to New York as a hotbed of black jazz and swing. For most of 1931 Foresythe worked as a key backroom boy for the band of Earl Hines, based in Chicago’s Grand Terrace Café and Ballroom, (owned by Louis Armstrong’s manager, Joe Glaser). Foresythe arranged and prepared orchestrations, led and organized rehearsals, and wrote Hines’ signature tune, Deep Forest. Foresythe also wrote a signature tune for the relief band at the Grand Terrace, (Eddie Moore’s Band), titled, Full Moon, although, it wasn’t published until 1942.
Reedman, Eddie Barfield stayed with Foresythe at the Ritz Hotel in Chicago for a time and recalled, ‘Reggie was writing arrangements for Earl Hines, and I had one or two charts with me but these were for four brass and Hines had five. I was rather a novice at arranging at the time and although I added a trombone part it didn’t sound right. So Reggie taught me how to voice it properly and then sold it to Earl’. Whilst working at the Grand Terrace, Foresythe also wrote for various floor shows staged there and a satirical political revue, titled, ‘The Pied Piper’. Some of the ballet music he composed for it became the piano piece, Chromolithograph, which he recorded later in the 30’s. Foresythe remained notable for challenging the explicit discrimination against black performers at the time and when necessary didn’t hold back. When the Hines band was booked into the all white College Inn in Chicago, and the hotel staff insisted ‘Negros were required to eat in the kitchen’, Foresythe confronted the manager, ‘How dare you call me a negro, must I show you my passport ? I am an Englishman and I will go to the Embassy and cause you more trouble than you can stand’. As a consequence he was the only black member of the band allowed to eat in the restaurant. In August 1931, Foresythe was asked by non-other than, Duke Ellington, (whom Foresythe had previously met in Hollywood), to prepare some arrangements of current tunes for a performance at Chicago’s, Lincoln Inn Tavern. According to his friend, Geoffrey Marne, ‘Reggie’s work for the Duke, again stimulated his increasing interest and ambition as a writer of jazz’. In late 1931, Foresythe had taken on the arranging chores for trumpeter Wild Bill Davison’s Band; indeed he’d produced the fifteen piece bands’, ‘book’. In March the following year, Foresythe witnessed the tragic death of clarinetist Frank Teschmaker in an auto accident, whilst the band was on its way to a gig at Guyon’s Paradise Ballroom. Aside arranging for bands, Foresythe also took the opportunity to build contacts with the music publishing industry, and did work for Robbins Music and Irving Mills. It was Mills who teamed Foresythe with lyricist Andy Razaf in late ’32, and they produced a number of published works including, He’s a Son of the South, Please Don’t Talk About My Man and Mississippi Basin. Foresythe composed one of his best known titles at this time, Serenade for a Wealthy Widow, for which Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh wrote lyrics. Through Irving Mills, Foresythe met Fats Waller, whom he greatly admired and they became good friends. Record producer, John Hammond recalled attending Waller’s 28th birthday in 1932, during which Waller played most of the score of the ballet, ‘Petrushka’, before joining Foresythe in a four handed version of the Delius opera, ‘A Village Romeo and Juliet’.
Another icon of the US popular music scene, Paul Whiteman was also impressed with Foresythe’s arranging and composing abilities and in January 1933, Whiteman broadcast Foresythe’s, Southern Holiday from the Biltmore Hotel, with Foresythe at the piano, the first time this composition had been aired. Whiteman entered into a five year personal contract with Foresythe, ‘to write special works for his orchestra’, which would require an annual visit to the US by Foresythe. Although now highly respected as a musician in the US, Foresythe also craved recognition back home and he decided to return to the UK, arriving on 30 March 1933. Foresythe headed home to his mother’s at Curzon Street, London and began to sound out possibilities. As a very capable accompanist he quickly found work playing piano for singer Ada Ward, then in variety at the London Pavilion. Then Foresythe received a big publicity boost when Melody Maker magazine published an introductory article about him, describing him as, ‘a wonderful musician’, with particular reference to his composition, Deep Forest. Decca Records were also taken with the new arrival and gave Foresythe the opportunity to record, He’s a Son of the South and Serenade for a Wealthy Widow on 4 May as piano solos, although they were unsure about what they had on their hands and didn’t release them. The BBC’s Henry Hall was also alerted to the arrival of Foresythe and he arranged for him to broadcast the European premier of Southern Holiday, with the BBC Dance Orchestra, on 29 May, which received rave reviews from serious music critics.
Over June and July 1933, Foresythe was invited to play piano with a band put together by Jamaican cornetist Joe Smith. Smith, who had been performing at the Tower of Babel Club in Paris, had been engaged to form a black band to play evenings at Ciro’s Club in London. Foresythe was joined by Warren Harrison (g), Bert Marshall (d), Monty Tyree (as), Robert Mumford-Taylor (ts), and J. Davis (b). Whilst at Ciro’s, Foresythe doubled as accompanist for Elisabeth Welch at the Leicester Square Theatre. Foresythe and Welch became very close friends and they worked together on and off throughout the next three decades. Speaking about him many years later in her autobiography she said, ‘Reggie is a favourite of mine, because when I came to London and I had cabaret and variety engagements, I didn’t know anyone as an accompanist. I was given his name and I thought it can’t be the Reggie Foresythe. I’d heard about him in America and Paris with his Serenade for a Wealthy Widow. I heard about him in New York when he came over to play with Paul Whiteman, who was known as the King of Jazz. I didn’t think Reggie would want to play for me. He was the most sweet, simple, charming person. Elegant and loved good food and always talked in a grand way, but he had a great sense of humour about himself. We used to send him up. He didn’t mind at all. We all laughed. We all loved him. Reggie was a confirmed bachelor. I do not recall a woman ever being associated with him. I know he had liaisons with men, but they were always very discreet’. On 3 June 1933, Melody Maker re-enforced Foresythe’s music credentials by publishing an article by Foresythe on ‘modern rhythmic piano playing’, entitled, ‘The Harmonic and Non Harmonic Modes’. Foresythe wrote four more ‘technical’, discussion pieces for Melody Maker over July/August, ‘The Piano Problem in the Small Orchestra’, (15 July), ‘Left Hand Rhythm – Apt to be Overstressed’, (22 July), ‘More About the Right Hand’, (29 July), and ‘The Importance of Piano Simplicity’, (5 August), in which he, ‘extemporised and analysed’, the chorus of hit song, I Cover the Waterfront. Meanwhile, at the end of his Ciro’s job, Foresythe was introduced to Bert Ambrose by pianist Arthur Young with whom Foresythe had struck up what would become an enduring friendship. Ambrose considered Foresythe to be a talented and forward looking musician and decided to back him in forming a band to experiment with some of his ideas and new approaches to instrumentation for the newly opened, Café de la Paix, (formerly The India Restaurant), in London’s Swallow Street, off Regent Street. The Café had pretensions and was looking for something new and ‘exotic’ in the way of music, and Foresythe was the man to provide it. Over August and September, Foresythe gathered his musicians and went into lengthy and detailed rehearsals to get things just right. Eventually, ‘The New Music of Reginald Foresythe’, as he dubbed it, opened on 17 October 1933 and certainly met requirements. With a ‘woodwind’, rather than brass section, it appealed to the Café’s, ‘artier’, clientele but in the popular press it was described as, ‘difficult to dance to’ and Foresythe was obliged on occasions to vary his arrangements and instrumentation to take account of this. Foresythe’s band, consisting of Ted Marshall (cl), George Newman (cl), Jimmy Watson (as), Ivor Lamb (as), Alf Morgan (ts), C. W. Harding (bsn), Joe Gibson (b), and Don Whitelaw (d), recorded and issued two Foresythe titles, Serenade for a Wealthy Widow and Angry Jungle for Columbia on 13 October 1933, (⦿ CB 675). Foresythe’s, ‘New Music’ also began to prompt some considerable debate amongst serious music critics; Stanley Nelson asserted, ‘With his, ‘tone colour’, orchestra at the Café de la Paix, Reginald Foresythe has created something quite distinctive in dance music’. He believed, ‘Foresythe to be as significant as Duke Ellington in the jazz world. He has in the first place, a splendid musical training, with all the theoretical knowledge to give to his study of jazz, a splendid significance. He is, in my opinion, the composer for which jazz has been looking, for he uses the idiom of syncopation in the only logical manner, i.e. contrapuntally’.
Foresythe himself under the heading, ‘This “New Music” of mine’, explained his views in an article printed in the December 1933 issue of Tune Times, which is worth quoting in full. According to Foresythe,
‘It would seem ridiculous to imagine people in a West End restaurant dancing to a fugue… yet I dare to venture to prophesy that in a few years time they will be doing just that, and the fugue will be as popular to dance to as the tango and rumba are today’.
We have undoubtedly arrived at the transition stage in jazz. Duke Ellington, on the one hand, and Paul Whiteman, on the other, have in my opinion, said the final word in what might be called the “harmonic” style of jazz – primitive music originally supplied with diatonic harmonies by obliging missionaries. Anything further will be merely repetition and as such can serve no useful purpose. But art is all enduring… the end of one phase merely marks the beginning of another. I believe that in the same manner that, Stravinsky went back first to the early Italian composers and then to Bach, so will jazz desert the harmonic basis for one purely contrapuntal. It was with this in mind that I formed the orchestra which is now playing at the Café de la Paix. I could expiate at length on the fascinating subject of geography in aesthetics. However suffice to say that the orchestra was formed after careful study of English taste, the size and acoustical properties of the restaurant itself, and last, but in no way least, present day economic conditions had to be taken into account. Only by considering all these externals can one really claim to be a modernist. Quite a number of people, who have not heard the band, are under the impression that I wish to continue the so called, “symphonic tradition”, nothing could be further from my intentions. Symphonic jazz is quite tasteless to me, and I was very amused a short while ago when a well known critic and composer said he thought I was really a Gershwin at heart. The essence of all art lies in the extremist simplicity of expression. This is my aim… the omission of the obvious… the suppression of the superfluous… the most expression with the greatest economy of means. It may be that I am on the wrong track… perhaps it will even prove to be a cul-de-sac… I do not think so’.
By the end of 1933 with the exception of Jimmy Watson, Foresythe had a new line up, for his ‘New Music’, with Cyril Clarke (cl), Bill Apps (cl), Jimmy Watson, Bill Barclay (as), Jack Ambrose (ts), Claude Hughes (bsn), Jack Collier (b), and a young drummer from Aberdeen, George Elrick. Elrick of course later joined Henry Hall, formed his own band and went on to have a long career in show business. Elrick recalled, ‘I’m afraid, Reggie’s compositions were not commercial in any way, but he was a brilliant pianist – if somewhat unorthodox; it was difficult to keep tempo as he was inclined to get excited and run away a little’. Whilst at the Café, the BBC had begun to take an interest in Foresythe, although a test session undertaken in November considered the band unsuitable for broadcasting at the time. Eventually the BBC relented and Foresythe’s band broadcast for the first time in the UK on the BBC’s National Service from the Café in, ‘In Town Tonight’, on 2 December 1933.
Foresythe performed Angry Jungle, Serenade to a Wealthy Widow and Chinatown my Chinatown in slightly cut down versions, and Melody Maker declared the broadcast a success. Also in December Foresythe’s band were guests at London’s No. 1 Rhythm Club, where they played for an hour. Aside from his, ‘New Music’, on 2 January 1934, Foresythe appeared on one side of a Columbia record (⦿ DB 1264), playing his Chromolithograph, a piano solo, with Arthur Young playing his Camembert, another piano solo on the reverse. Record reviewer Christopher Stone described these as, ‘for the connoisseur’, noting, ‘the plain man would probably prefer to stick to Cheddar and line engravings’. Foresythe and Young respected each other’s talents and over the balance of the 30’s often recorded, broadcast, and occasionally toured together as duettists. On 6 January 1934, Melody Maker devoted a full page and half to a conversation between music critic Leonard Feather and Foresythe, entitled, ‘No Future for Hot Music’.
In essence they both argued that there seemed to have been few developments in jazz in the recent past and that in effect apart from a few compositions from Duke Ellington, hot music/jazz had not moved on in any new direction. Foresythe and Feather were sometimes controversial, as illustrated by the following exchanges. Feather asked if Duke Ellington’s music had made any further progress since 1928.
Feather, ‘….has it been genuine and permanent in the sense of advancing the whole of hot music? He, (Ellington), still normally always uses the same harmonies that served for 50 years or more. I can only think of one big effort to get out of the rut, Lightnin’’.
Foresythe, ‘So you really think that’s all Duke has done for hot music. Well I can tell you that I knew him out in Hollywood, four years ago, and at that time he was comparatively insignificant. Even, un-ambitious. Oh yes he’s definitely come on since then. I liked Ring Dem Bells very much. You know, much as I admire Duke and his music, I found that two hours at that Ellington concert was really too much. That sort of spontaneous inspiration that he allows in practically every number gets rather dull after a while. If you ask me, this solo business is just a form of exhibitionism with no lasting value. The solos achieve a superficial technical interest at the expense of genuine meaning’. Foresythe then referred to Louis Armstrong, ‘Louis is a great artist to this day–not because of his high notes and stunts-not even because his technique’s improved- perhaps deteriorated-but because his playing is governed more by his intellect. His most enjoyable records for instance were the group he made comparatively recently with Les Hite’s Band, Shine and Just a Gigolo. Good arrangements and supporting band, as well as good work by Louis himself. There you have the epitome of his art. It represents the mental influence on the spontaneous. I believe music is a form of higher mathematics. It has to be regarded from a detached point of view. It always has been for thousands of years. That was how the Greeks dealt with music, and all their disciples. It was only during the eighteenth century that music began to be regarded as a romantic art’.
Feather, ‘And the eighteenth century produced Bach. Now look how simple Bach is, generally speaking, simple, but emotional’.
Foresythe, ‘Simple to hear and understand, yes, but really frightfully complicated and mental. That’s what all music has to be’.
Feather, (talking about Earl Hines), ‘Why hasn’t he done anything worthwhile recently?’
Foresythe, ‘Simply because he hasn’t been able to undergo that mental influence. His musical knowledge is limited. It was a real struggle for him to go through with Deep Forest, which I wrote for him. The harmonies were beyond his conception. But I insist that he hasn’t gone off at all-he was always just grand in his own sphere. That’s the trouble with the entire situation. In fact to sum up, I’ll put it like this. Art not being composed solely of a spontaneous expression, jazz has, in the last five years, developed, by the applied intellectual control of that spontaneous expression. There is no future for jazz as such. It can only merge and insinuate itself into standard music.’ Later in the piece, Foresythe singled out American black composers, William Grant Still and Harold Bruce Foresythe, (no relation), as the future of jazz music. At the time of the interview, Foresythe was doing gig work and when his, ‘New Music’, played at a birthday party for the daughter of the Hon. Mrs Henry Fane, on 25 January 1934, he had been replaced at the Café de la Paix, by a more populist outfit, Louis Simmons & his Band.
Nevertheless, on the 9 February, Foresythe’s ‘New Music’ went on to record four more Foresythe titles for Columbia, Bit, Berceuse for an Unwanted Child, The Duke Insists, and the diverting, Garden of Weed, before disbanding for a time. Lew Stone’s version of Garden of Weed, recorded on 24 April has deservedly become a classic. Melody Maker noted Foresythe’s appearance at a supper dance given by Southampton’s Rhythm Club on 13 March, at the South Western Hotel. Supported by Norman Bright & his Band, Foresythe’s solo piano programme included, Serenade for a Wealthy Widow and, ‘an amazing interpretation’, of the St Louis Blues. Foresythe made his BBC radio debut as a soloist on 29 March at 8.50 on the National Programme, in a, ‘piano interlude’. On 2 April Foresythe undertook a week in variety at the Palladium accompanying Elizabeth Welch, who introduced his new song, Because It’s Love, (with words by Michael Carr), which he also broadcast with her. It was described by Rhythm magazine as, ‘one of the greatest fox trot’s ever written in this country’. Whilst working on the song, Carr and Foresythe together, apparently ‘conceived’, a four part symphony called, ‘Death Takes a Holiday’, based on the Fredric March Paramount film of the same name, but this appears to have come to nothing.
Later in April, Foresythe, who according to Melody Maker, had been, apart from his Palladium stint, ‘silent for many weeks’, was approached by the proprietors of the exclusive Pavillion Club, in Dachet on the River Thames near Slough, for something different in the way of dance entertainment, but not too different. Foresythe decided to ‘tone down’, his New Music approach and put together a more commercial five piece unit which included, Cyril Clarke (ts), Jimmy Watson (as), Don Whitelaw (d), and boy vocalist/guitarist, Rex Cotton, whom Foresythe had recruited from Len Daniel’s Astoria Band. Foresythe opened on 5 May and remained resident to 22 July. During his stay, Foresythe’s full compliment ‘New Music’, recorded, St Louis Blues and his new song, Because its Love on 25 May. On 23 July, Foresythe’s, Pavillion Club line up went into Café de Paris for a week and followed it with four weeks to 25 August, at the Café Anglais. Foresythe’s, ‘New Music’ also made its second appearance on BBC radio at 5.15 on 14 August, replacing the BBC Dance Orchestra who were at RadioOlympia. At this time, Foresythe also announced he was working on a new four movement composition, Centre Court, although it’s unclear as to whether this was ever completed.
In late August Foresythe had returned to the Café de la Paix, and on 6 September, his ‘New Music’, recorded another four of his titles, Deep Forest, Lament for Congo, Volcanic (An eruption for Orchestra) and The Autocrat Before Breakfast. Foresythe finished his spell at the Café on 14 October and in between gig work, broadcast his, Pub Crawl, a piano piece in four movements, on 17 November, accompanied by Ambrose & his Orchestra, which was well received by critics.
As December 1934 approached, Foresythe temporarily disbanded as he was required to return to the States under his contract with Paul Whiteman, who had arranged for Foresythe to appear and broadcast with him as featured soloist, (Whiteman had recorded Serenade for a Wealthy Widow on 14 December). One particularly appealing aspect of his US trip was that record producer, John Hammond, had set up a recording session with no less than Benny Goodman, another admirer of Foresythe’s music. Foresythe arrived in New York on 21 December 1934, and apart from broadcasting with Johnny Green’s Band he appeared on Whiteman’s, Kraft ‘Music Hall’, programmes on 27th, and 3rd of January. Meanwhile he set about preparing and rehearsing his recording session with Goodman. On 23 January 1935, Goodman and Foresythe joined an all star jazz group featuring, Johnny Mince (cl), Hymie Schertzer, Toots Mondello (as), Dick Clark (ts), Sol Schoenbach (bsn),), John Kirby (b), Gene Krupa (d), to record four of Foresyth’s compositions, The Melancholy Clown, Lullaby, The Greener the Grass, and Dodging a Divorcee. The sides were released both in the US and UK, under the ‘New Music’ appellation.
Foresythe returned to the UK on 9 February 1935. On 19 March, Foresythe recorded his Southern Holiday mood piece with Henry Hall & the BBC Dance orchestra, over two 12” sides for Columbia, (⦿ DX 683).
KEY: ⦿ 78rpm