An original member of pioneering British jazz-rock band, If (1969–1973), he went on to undertake session and studio work. Around 1975–76 he was also a member of Pip Pyle's The Weightwatchers, with Elton Dean and Keith Tippett and leading his own group, Jim Richardson's Pogo Revisited which also featured Alan Barnes. In the late 1970s, his quartet featured Bobby Wellins. Among many other recordings, in 1981 he appeared on the Hoagy Carmichael tribute album, In Hoagland.
Richardson released the album Chapter One on 15 October 2009. His album 2 Plus 2 was released on 22 April 2010. He was one of the guest speakers for the launch of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers 'Out of Hospital' report, held on 21 July 2010 at the London Medical Society. He had been a carer for his partner, Maggie, before she died of cancer. Richardson provided a carers perspective to the gathered professionals, on behalf of the PRTC, to help campaign for more consideration by hospitals, to the needs of carers during patient discharge planning.