Dudley Fosdick

Biography by

A thick, pompous-sounding British accent should be required for introducing this musician: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Dudley Fosdick will perform on the mellophonium." Also known as the mellophone,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

A thick, pompous-sounding British accent should be required for introducing this musician: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Dudley Fosdick will perform on the mellophonium." Also known as the mellophone, this pleasant brass instrument was the weapon of choice for a performer who came out of the Indiana corn fields, not the courtyards of Westminster Abbey. Following studies at both Northwestern University and Columbia University, this player went to work in a band led by his brother, the saxophonist and clarinetist Gene Fosdick. The combo was appropriately named the Hoosiers. If someone asked the group "Hoosier bandleader?," Gene Fosdick would take a bow. Dudley Fosdick played in this group in 1922 and 1923, then rejoined his brother in 1928 with the commencement of a new group called the Melody Artists.

In between, the mellophone man played with the fine trumpeter Red Nichols as well as Ted Weems. In 1927, Dudley Fosdick left for New York City where he began working in a band led by possessive trumpeter Tommy Gott, followed by stints with both Don Voorhees and Roger Wolfe Kahn. Fosdick would have been on speed dial for recording sessions if such a thing existed at the time. This situation continued through the '30s as his instrumental abilities were desired by prolific recording ensembles such as the Henry King & His Orchestra.

Fosdick joined the Guy Lombardo Orchestra in the fall of 1936, and having found his way into one of the most successful dance bands of all time was in no hurry to leave. He stayed with Lombardo for a decade. His activity in the studios continued following the second World War, but on a largely uncredited basis. He died from a heart attack and at the time was the director of the modern music department at the Roerich Academy of Arts.