Jarman was not so accomplished a saxophonist as his reed-playing partner in the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Roscoe Mitchell. But Jarman's sense of color was fine, his blunt-edged improvisations projected an emotionally immediacy of their own, and his interest in poetry and theatre informed the band's live performances. While attending 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.