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 he appeared with Tadd Dameron, and after graduating he joined Tiny Bradshaw's band. While not well known, 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. 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. Originally a crackling hard bop player with blazing technique, crisp articulations, and a no-frills sound, Hardman soon began to play with some of the fuller, more extroverted romantic passion of a Clifford Brown, a direction he would take increasingly throughout the 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 City jazz scene of the 1970s it was not uncommon to attend all-star trumpet sessions on which the unassuming, self-effacing Hardman would go head to head with heralded trumpet stars and emerge the clear and decisive winner.


As leader

As sideman

With Dave Bailey

With Art Blakey

With Lou Donaldson

With Curtis Fuller

With Benny Golson

With Eddie Jefferson

With Jackie McLean

With Charles Mingus

With Steve Turre

With Mal Waldron