Mardigan played with Tommy Reynolds in 1942 and served in the Army in 1943-44. After his discharge he worked extensively on the New York City jazz scene, playing and recording with Georgie Auld, Charlie Parker, Allen Eager, Dexter Gordon, Kai Winding, Wardell Gray, and Fats Navarro.
In 1948, he was hired by Phil Hill to join his bebop trio, with Abe Woodly on vibraphone, as the first house band at Detroit's Blue Bird Inn jazz club. The following year, Hill and Mardigan were joined by Wardell Gray, James “Beans” Richardson on bass and Jack Tiant on bongos, and, as the Phil Hill Quintet, recorded a live album on July 20, 1949. The following April, the Wardell Gray Quartet, with Hill, Richardson and Mardigan recorded for Prestige.
In the 1950s he toured with Woody Herman and Pete Rugolo; he recorded as a leader of a sextet which included Al Cohn in 1954 for The Jazz School. He recorded with Stan Getz in 1954 and then moved back to his birthplace of Detroit. There he played with Jack Brokensha in 1963 and also worked at the Roostertail nightclub in the Johnny Trudell band, and returned to work with Getz near the end of his life.
- Bjorn, Lars and Jim Gallert (1994) "Bebop in Detroit Nights at the Blue Bird Inn" Archived 2015-10-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Wardell Gray - A Discography 1944-1955" Retrieved 8 July 2013.