Chicago saxophonist and composer Greg Ward navigates smoothly through free passages and in and out of groovy, melodic narratives in his jazz trio with drummer Greg Artry and bassist Dennis Carroll. The trio work in a real that's not quite through-composed and not totally free, but tends to entangle the audience in frenzied intensity. The trio can also create scarcer spaces for the articulate, melodic ornaments of Ward’s saxophone, Artry's distinct brush rhythms, and Carroll's shifting colors on bass. Ward works in many other circles in the jazz world, not only as a saxophonist and ensemble leader, but as a commissioned composer.
Ward's 2016 record Touch My Beloved’s Thought—a work scored for a 10-piece jazz ensemble—accompanies choreography by Onye Ozuzu, celebrating the work of Charles Mingus. In addition to original projects, Ward has a history of performing and recording with a number of notable and disparate artists. In addition to adventurous jazz musicians such as Hamid Drake and William Parker, Ward has played behind experimental rock outfit Tortoise and rapper Lupe Fiasco. —Emili Earhart