Mr. Jarman is cofounder of Chicago’s famed AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) founded in 1965 and a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago from 1969 to 1993. He has performed, toured and recorded in all parts of the Western world as well as in Japan and Eastern Europe. In 2001 he was invited by the Mayor of Chicago as an honored guest composer and performer, and to the Dogen Country in Mali by invitation of the French Consulate for a special project of music and art with Dogen artists and Western Artists (Leroy Jenkins, Thomas Buckner, and Alain Kirili).
Best known as a saxophonist, Mr. Jarman plays all the woodwinds and many percussion instruments, including vibes, marimba, balophone, and an array of bells, gongs and little instruments. Mr. Jarman has also worked extensively in Music/theater and is largely responsible for its development as a means of expression in new music. As a writer and poet, Joseph Jarman has published in Black Scholar, Dada Artist, New World and other books and magazines. He has also written the liner notes for many Art Ensemble of Chicago recordings.
Mr. Jarman studied music at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and Chicago Teachers College. He has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants, including several NEA grants, New York State Council grants for composition. In 1984 he received an interacts grant with Jessica Hagdorn, Blondell Cummings and John Woo for The Art of War. He also had a grant in 1999 from the British Arts Council. Mr. Jarman has received numerous first place awards from Downbeat Critics Polls. He is a member of the National Jazz Educators, Composers Forum, and Jazz Institute of Chicago (Life member). Mr. Jarman is an honorary lifetime member of the Chicago Jazz Society and is an honorary citizen of the city of Atlanta, GA and Madison, Wisconsin.
In 1990 Mr. Jarman was ordained a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Priest and also holds the rank of Godan (5th degree) black belt in the martial art of Aikido. He now directs the Jikishinkan Aikido Dojo and Brooklyn Buddhist Association. Mr. Jarman’s most recent recordings include Pachinko Dream track 10 on Music @ Arts Records; Return of the Lost Tribe – Delmark Records; Out of the Mist – Ocean records; and Lifetime Visions for the Magnificent Human – Bopbuda Music.