Trumpeter Henry Jerome formed his first orchestra in the mid-1930s. The ten-piece outfit received some notoriety via remote broadcasts on ABC from the Green Room at the Edison Hotel. Though barely adequate musically, Henry Jerome and His Stepping Tones found steady work on the hotel ballroom circuit during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Kay Carlton was vocalist.
Jerome completely reorganized in 1944, modernizing his sound. His new lineup featured bop arrangements, courtesy of Johnny Mandel, which were surprisingly ahead of their time. Vocalists included David Allen. Of note in Jerome’s later line-up was future Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan on bass clarinet and future Nixon-administration White House Counsel Leonard Garment on saxophone. It was this association from Jerome’s band that made the two men friends and eventually caused Garment to recommend Greenspan for the job of Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Nixon later named Greenspan as Fed Chairman.
Though Jerome’s new sound excited critics, it proved too noncommercial, and he disbanded in the late 1940s, becoming musical director at Decca. While there, he released a series of popular orchestrated albums called “Brazen Brass.” In 1959, he took the position of A&R director at Coral Records, where he worked with a number of early rock and roll groups. During the 1960s, he recorded an album on the United Artists label. Jerome also composed the theme songs to two popular television programs, The Soupy Sales Show and Winky-Dink and You.