Jerome Richardson's ability to double on a number of instruments in the reed/woodwind family kept him in steady employment for half a century. A first-call reed player in New York and Hollywood, Richardson's work on saxophones and flute have enhanced literally thousands of recording sessions. Always a very valuable musician to have on a session, he excelled on tenor, alto, flute, baritone, and soprano, as if each one were his main instrument. He tended to be underrated or passed over because he was a studio musician who was often mostly in the ensembles, but Richardson was a fine soloist too.
Jerome started on alto saxophone at the age of eight. In his teens Benny Carter, Johnny Hodges and Willie Smith were his ideals. He became a professional at the age of fourteen, and had a brief stint then with Lionel Hampton, and worked with Bay Area bands until 1941, during which time he also studied music at San Francisco State College. The flute was added to his working equipment in 1940. Both this and his alto sax were used to advantage in a Navy band, under the direction of Marshall Royal, at St. Mary's Pre-Flight from 1942 to 1945. He joined the Lionel Hampton band again in 1949, with whom he recorded what is widely regarded as the first modern jazz solo played on flute on ‘Kingfish’, and was also a member of the Earl Hines big band.