Greg Ward is a saxophonist and composer born in Peoria, Illinois, and currently based in Chicago. After receiving a degree in Jazz Studies/Saxophone Performance in 2004 from Northern Illinois University, where he worked with Steve Duke, Fareed Haque, Ron Carter, and Joey Sellers, he went on to compose two pieces for the International Contemporary Ensemble, perform a quartet composition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series, and compose Wings for the Peoria Ballet Company. Ward was also commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago for a new composition, which was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2009. He has also performed and recorded with a varied group of artists including Prefuse 73, Lupe Fiasco, Tortoise, William Parker, Andrew D’Angelo, and Mike Reed.
In 2009, Ward moved to New York City, where he began working with JazzReach, a New York City-based jazz education organization that shares multi-media programs throughout the U.S. In 2010, he produced his first CD as a leader with his Chicago-based band Fitted Shards titled South Side Story, which received much critical acclaim including “Recording of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune. In 2011, Ward formed Phonic Juggernaut with Damion Reid (drums) and Joe Sanders (bass), which recorded and released a CD on Thirsty Ear Recordings that year. 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, an hour-long work for septet that included a short documentary by Diana Quinones Rivera inspired by the life and work of Preston Jackson. Recently, Ward collaborated with composer, sound designer, and performer Caleb Willitz to compose the film score for Beresford Bennett’s Pinch, which was an official selection of the 2015 San Diego Black Film Festival. Together, they also released an electro-acoustic recording Synoptic Optiks (2015).