Jerome Richardson

Jerome Richardson, an improviser in jazz who came from the bop tradition was always talented. He displayed individuality on each of their reeds. He was a studio musician for most of his life, which meant that he kept a low profile within the jazz community. Richardson began playing alto at age eight. He was already playing in public by the age of 14 and was attending San Francisco State College. From 1942 to 1945, Richardson was in the military. He often worked in a Marshall Royal-led dance band. Before moving to New York, he gained experience with Earl Hines (1952-1953), and Lionel Hampton (1949-1951). Richardson gigged with Lucky Millinder and Cootie William, as well as Gerry Mulligan and Gerald Wilson. From 1965 to 1970, Richardson was the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra’s lead altoist and soprano. He also toured Europe with Quincy Jones’ ill-fated Free and Easy Orchestra in 1959-1960. Richardson moved to Hollywood in 1971 and worked primarily as a studio musician, sometimes for Quincy Jones. However, he occasionally returned to jazz playing. Richardson was a leader in a pair sessions for New Jazz between 1958 and 1959 (during which Richardson played tenor and flute), and was also on numerous sessions in the 1950s with Kenny Burrell. He was also a leader with United Artists (1962), and Verve (1967), during which he was also playing soprano. The latter includes his original song “Groove Merchant”. Richardson was a session leader again on Jazz Station Runaway 1997, a TCB release that also featured guitarist Russell Malone and bassist George Mraz. Jerome Richardson, 79, died in Englewood (New Jersey) on June 23, 2000.

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