About Greg Ward

“ …. one of the most versatile jazz musicians of his generation, with a deep-seated curiosity that drives him to push himself into new territory.” – Chicago Reader

Greg Ward is a saxophonist and composer that was born in Peoria, IL. Currently based in Chicago, Ward has had the opportunity to perform and record with a varied group of artists like Prefuse 73, Lupe Fiasco, Tortoise, William Parker, Andrew D’Angelo, and Mike Reed.

In 2000, Ward began his studies at Northern Illinois University where he worked with Steve Duke, Fareed Haque, Ron Carter, and Joey Sellers. Already interested in composition, having the opportunity to compose for NIU’s jazz combos deepened his understanding of the inner-workings of music. Also, working with composer and arranger, Joey Sellers, equipped Ward with some important tools to further explore this new love.

Around his sophomore year in college, Ward started spending many nights performing in the jazz clubs of Chicago. Soon, he would meet another one of his mentors, saxophonist, Fred Anderson, who would later select him to host a jam session at the Velvet Lounge for four years. During this time period, Ward experienced much growth as a performer and composer and developed a vibrant community of performers, artists, dancers, and listeners.

After graduating from NIU in 2004 with a degree in Jazz Studies/Saxophone Performance, Ward moved to Chicago and took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to him. Composing two pieces for the International Contemporary Ensemble, performing a quartet composition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series, composing Wings for the Peoria Ballet Company, and being commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago for a new composition, which was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2009, are just a few of the many experiences that shaped Ward during his years in Chicago.

In 2009, Ward decided to move to New York City. Almost immediately after he arrived in NYC, he began working with JazzReach, an NYC-based jazz education organization that shares multi-media programs throughout the US. In 2010, he would produce his first CD as a leader with his Chicago-based band, Fitted Shards. South Side Story received much critical acclaim, including “Recording of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune. Next, in 2011, Ward formed Phonic Juggernaut, which features Damion Reid on drums and Joe Sanders on bass. Together, they recorded and released a CD on Thirsty Ear Recordings that same year. Also, in 2011, Ward composed and performed a commission from the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra for a concerto for jazz quartet and string orchestra. In 2012, Ward was selected as one of the two New Music USA Van Lier Fellows. In 2014, he received a commission/residency from the Jazz Gallery and premiered Capturing Sunlight, which was an hour-long work for septet and included a short documentary by Diana Quinones Rivera. The Capturing Sunlight project was inspired by the life and work of Preston Jackson.

Recently, Ward has collaborated with another composer, sound designer, and performer, Caleb Willitz. First, they composed the film score for Beresford Bennett’s film, Pinch, which was an official selection of the 2015 San Diego Black Film Festival. Second, Ward and Willitz will be releasing an electro-acoustic project, Gaps and Spaces: Synoptic Optiks.

Greg has released two albums as a leader for Greenleaf Music. In 2015, Ward released Touch My Beloved’s Thought, featuring a ten piece ensemble reinterpreting the music of Charles Mingus with dancers. His latest release,  Stomping Off From Greenwood, featuring his group Rogue Parade featuring a quintet of heavyweight creative Chicago musicians: Matt Gold and Dave Miller (guitar & effects), Matt Ulery (bass), and Quin Kirchner (drums).


CONTACTS

PRESS
Lydia Liebman
Lydia Liebman Promotions
lydia@lydialiebmanpromotions.com

WEBSITE: gregwardmusic.us


PRESS QUOTES

“ …. one of the most versatile jazz musicians of his generation, with a deep-seated curiosity that drives him to push himself into new territory.” – Chicago Reader

“Greg Ward is clearly a musician with focus and vision.”Burning Ambulance

“The improvising is bracing and tough, the tunes are soulful … purely fun and infectious.” – Pop Matters


ROGUE PARADE – BAND BIO

Rogue Parade is an ensemble that was created by saxophonist and composer Greg Ward. In late 2015, Ward returned to Chicago after six years in New York City. In February 2016, Ward was contacted by The Whistler, one of Chicago’s hip bar and venues, about presenting a concert for their Relax Attack Jazz Series. For this performance, Ward assembled a group of highly-creative musicians featuring Dave Miller on guitar and effects, Matt Gold on guitar and effects, Matt Ulery on upright and electric bass, and Quin Kirchner on drums. He also composed a new set of music with the purpose of exploring this unique instrumentation, which blends the acoustic and electronic sonic worlds.

After this first concert, The Whistler approached the quintet about presenting a month-long residency in the summer of 2016. The residency consisted of 4 concerts and gave the band an opportunity to develop a rapport and to also build an audience. Rogue Parade would continue to rehearse and to perform throughout Chicago for the remainder of 2016.

In the spring of 2017, the ensemble went on tour throughout the Midwest, including concerts in Chicago, Minneapolis, Appleton, Des Moines, Davenport, and a workshop at Lawrence University. Later in 2017, Ward received an Individual Artist Grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in Chicago to make a recording.