Bill Hardman

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William Franklin Hardman, Jr. (April 6, 1933, Cleveland, Ohio – December 5, 1990, Paris, France) was an American jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist who chiefly played hard bop.


While in high school in Cleveland he appeared with Tadd Dameron, and after graduating he joined Tiny Bradshaw's band. He appeared and recorded with some of the foremost jazz musicians: his first recording was with Jackie McLean in 1955; he later played with Charles Mingus, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Horace Silver, and Lou Donaldson, and led a group with Junior Cook. He also recorded as a leader: Saying Something on the Savoy label received outstanding critical acclaim in jazz circles, although little known to the general public. A most underrated musician — boasting three separate tours of duty in as many decades with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers — Hardman's bad luck was to not be with the Messengers at the time of their popular Blue Note recordings. A crackling hard bop player with blazing technique, crisp articulations, and a no-frills sound, Hardman later incorporated into his sound the fuller, more extroverted romantic passion of a Clifford Brown - a direction he would take increasingly throughout the late-1960s and 1970s. When put to the test, few could match and none exceed his pyrotechnical or imaginative gifts - Blakey would occasionally feature him playing several extended choruses unaccompanied. In the New York jazz scene of the 1970s, it was not uncommon to find him at all-star trumpet sessions on which he would go head to head with heralded trumpet stars and emerge the clear and decisive winner. He figures by and large among the top ranks of hardbop titans of the time, although he never managed a commercial break through like many of his colleagues such as Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan.


As leader[edit]

  • 1961 - Saying Something (Savoy Records)
  • 1975 - Colors (Strata-East Records, with Brass Company)[1]
  • 1978 - Home (Muse Records)
  • 1989 - Focus (Muse)
  • 1981 - Politely (Muse)
  • 1989 - What's Up (Steeplechase) with Robin Eubanks, Junior Cook, Mickey Tucker

As sideman[edit]

With Dave Bailey

With Art Blakey

With Lou Donaldson

With Curtis Fuller

With Benny Golson

With Eddie Jefferson

  • Come Along with Me (OJC, 1969)

With Jackie McLean

With Charles Mingus

With Steve Turre

  • Viewpoints and Vibrations (Stash, 1987)

With Mal Waldron

With Houston Person