Harper played in the 1980s with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, and Betty Carter, the last for four years. While working with Carter he met Wycliffe Gordon, with whom Harper would collaborate repeatedly. From 1988 to 1993 he worked with his brother, trumpeter Philip Harper, in the group The Harper Brothers, alongside musicians such as Justin Robinson, Javon Jackson, Walter Blanding, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Stephen Scott, Kevin Hays, Michael Bowie, and Nedra Wheeler. After the dissolution of the Harper brothers, Winard went on to record several albums as a leader. In the early 2000s he worked with his own sextet, including for performances at Lincoln Center in New York City. He played with Avery Sharpe in 2008.
- Be Yourself (Epicure, 1994)
- Tete Montoliu en el San Juan (1996)
- Trap Dancer (Savant, 1998)
- Winard (Savant, 1999)
- Faith with Carrie Smith (Savant, 2000)
- A Time for the Soul (Savant, 2003)
- Come into the Light (Savant, 2004)
- Make it Happen (Piadrum, 2006)
- Coexist (Jazz Legacy, 2012)
- Winard Harper at Allmusic
- Whiteis, David (June 2008). "Jazz Reviews: Legends & Mentors: The Music of McCoy Tyner, Archie Shepp, and Yusef Lateef", JazzTimes.