Jazz writers and musicians have described his tenor saxophone sound as "big and round", and his style as "fluid, solid, individual, quite varied", and he "plays with harmonic intelligence." John Richmond's live engagements and recording sessions have included work with many of the top jazz musicians of our time.
Born and raised in the New York City area, having lived on E. 15th St. for years, his musical studies began at age nine with clarinet. "I was so blown away and inspired when I first heard Charlie Parker that I felt I had to become an alto player. Later, I began to really hear John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon and Joe Henderson and I eventually switched over because I kept hearing the tenor in my mind."
After studies at the Eastman School of Music in both saxophone and clarinet, he graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree. His musical training has included studies with Joe Allard, his principal teacher, as well as Dave Tofani, Charles Russo, Harvey Estrin, Mike Longo, David A. Gross, Ramon Ricker, Tim Price.
During the '80s, he was immersed in the New York City jazz scene where he worked in many venues as diverse as the Blue Note, Seventh Avenue South, Roulette and Carnegie Recital Hall. He spent endless nights in NYC in places such as the Star Cafe, where Junior Cook ran nightly sessions and many great players would show up, the Blue Note after hours sessions with Ted Curson, and the Barry Harris Jazz Cultural Theater. "I learned a lot in that period, especially from Junior. If I wasn't working, which was a lot of the time, I sat in anywhere possible with just about everybody just about everywhere, in all the clubs. I was out every night and always carried the horn with me."
His early recording as leader, "Round Once," on Consolidated Artists, featured
pianist Mike Longo, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Al Harewood,
received favorable critical reviews and radio air play and was a "feature pick"
of Cash Box magazine.
He spent time living in Italy and performing all over Europe including the Umbria Jazz and San Remo Jazz Festivals. He became involved with Umbria Jazz just as it was being reborn, after several years of inactivity, where he also worked with the jazz clinics.
For a significant period in his life John was involved in boxing, and he derived many experiences from this. He made reference to this in his recording called "Round Once" and has written tunes inspired by boxers Renaldo Snipes and Herschel Jacobs, his teacher.
"Saxophonist John Richmond was one of the most promising young voices on his instrument when he emerged in the eighties playing with the bands of bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Alvin Queen. In his own groups featuring the likes of Kenny Kirkland, Mulgrew Miller and Jeff "Tain" Watts, the horn man also revealed a burgeoning ability as a leader and composer. Now with his return to the New York scene after a hiatus of more than a decade Richmond seems poised to deliver on the promise of his younger years."
Russ Musto, AllAboutJazz New York