This is an example of a player who became better over time. In stints with demanding bandleaders like Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Lou Donaldson, and Bill Hardman in his early years, he had a terrible tone and severely restricted, limited skills. He has gradually improved in every facet, and by the mid-'60s he had become a confident, vibrant soloist. His longest stint has been with Lou Donaldson (seven years), though he had four different periods with Art Blakey. Hardman led his own group, the Brass Company, in the late '60s and was with Junior Cook in the late '70s and early '80s.