high school in Chicago in the early '50s, Jarman took up the
drums under the tutelage of the famous music teacher Walter
Dyett. He switched to saxophone and clarinet while in the army.
Upon his discharge in 1958, he returned to Chicago. There, he
joined pianist Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band (formed
in 1961), alongside his future Art Ensemble compatriots Malachi
Favors and Mitchell. Jarman played in a hard bop sextet with
Mitchell, and in 1965, he became one of the first members of
the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians.
around 1967, Jarman was one of the first saxophonists to perform
solo, a tactic also embraced by other members of the AACM, notably
Anthony Braxton. Jarman led his own group from 1966-1968, which
included bassist Charles Clark, drummer Thurman Barker, and
pianist Christopher Gaddy, among others. Separate editions of
that band recorded a pair of albums for Delmark: Song for...
(1966) and As if it were the Seasons (1968). In 1967, Lester
Bowie recorded Numbers 1 & 2 for Nessa; on "2,"
the four musicians who would become the Art Ensemble (Bowie,
Mitchell, Favors, and Jarman) recorded together for the first
time. In 1969, that band would become Jarman's primary creative
outlet. By then, the untimely deaths of Gaddy and Clark had
compelled Jarman to disband his own group. Jarman would continue
with the Art Ensemble until 1993. In that time, he also recorded
under his own name, for the Black Saint, AECO, and India Navigation
labels. Upon leaving the Art Ensemble, Jarman virtually retired
from music, in order to devote himself more completely to spiritual
matters. As the '90s progressed, however, he did continue to
perform and record, often as a guest with such musicians as
Marilyn Crispell, guitarist/ composer Scott Fields, bassist
Reggie Workman, and drummer Lou Grassi.
Guide, AEC One-stop Group, Inc.
to the Art Ensemble of Chicago in January 2003