Stomping off from Greenwood (Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade) [feat. Matt Gold, Dave Miller, Matt Ulery & Quin Kirchner]
A rising Chicago saxophonist/composer captures the sound of the city. The “Greenwood” in the album title refers to a street on Chicago’s South Side, and the album reflects just how meaningfully saxophonist and composer Greg Ward has made himself at home in the Second City. The 36-year-old’s band Rogue Parade features some of the city’s best young players, and their experience playing clubs together comes through in an easy rapport and charged approach to melody and groove. Much of the music here evokes an urban jazz pastoral, as if Ward finds all the inspiration he needs in the city itself. On “Metropolis,” for example, there’s complexity in a 5/4 groove, diversity in African guitar patterns, and rapture in Ward’s bright saxophone—all energized by the drummer’s funky beat. In the lone cover on the LP, “Stardust,” Rogue Parade remakes the songbook classic with mixed meters, vamping on fragments of the melody—it’s the night sky seen through a smudged window on a moving train.