“I view pedals as an extension of my voice on the saxophone. Most saxophone players have their doubles of flute/clarinet, but I never gravitated towards perfecting my skills on those instruments as I wasn’t hearing them in my writing or improvisations. I look at pedals as my doubles; I wanted to have the sonic palette that guitar, bass, and keyboard players have at my disposal and I’m always hearing that for my writing and improvisations. Doug Levin and I worked on the design of the board. I have always had pedals at keyboard height with foot pedals on the floor for triggering. Having a board that can be put on a keyboard stand was exactly what I needed to have and the design Douglas came up with has been a game changer for me. I’ve been using it on my main band gigs and pop/indie rock shows and it has taken my performances to the next level I was striving for.“
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Connecticut native Chris Ward began studying the tenor saxophone at a young age. Having been inspired by saxophonist-turned-movie director Nick Ordway and his Charlie Parker Omnibook, Chris was propelled to voraciously study the history of jazz through the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker, and many more masters of the discipline.
Ward’s musical education took him first to the Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with a degree in Performance and Jazz Composition, and then on to New York University. During his studies, Chris studied closely with George Garzone and Frank Tiberi and was a vital member of many of Berklee’s top ensembles under the direction of legendary figures including Hal Crook and Joe Lovano. While attending NYU, Ward was advised and instructed by Chris Potter, Wayne Krantz, Gil Goldstein, Lenny Pickett, and Jean-Michel Pilc.
His extensive experience as a performer and composer in the Boston and New York City areas have included engagements at Boston’s WGBH and at the famed Blue Note Jazz Club with jazz luminaries including Kenny Werner, John Scofield, Lenny Pickett, and Joe Lovano. Most recently, Chris has shared the stage with Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Armand Sabel-Lecco and Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction in celebration and support of the 2015 Jaco Pastorius documentary Jaco, directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak.
Ward is feggggatured on the upcoming Fischerspooner release (produced by Michael Stipe of REM) and performs as a core member of the Hipster Assassins and the Social Experiment, both led by legendary bassist Felix Pastorius. He has contributed to performances and recordings by Lord Huron, The Family Crest, Color Guard, and the world’s only J-Pop big band, Morning Musuko! In addition to prolific work as an in-demand sideman, Chris released his debut studio recording as a leader, Bridging the Gap, in 2008 to explore his unique sound, ideas, and virtuosic approach to improvising.
He brings a unique fusion of classical, rock, jazz and electronica to his songs heavily influenced by Bjork, Radiohead and Portishead. In his search for creativity and to help portray his unique sound and ideas, Ward gathered a group of talented musicians together and recorded his debut album, “Bridging the Gap.”
Ward is a member of a few up and coming projects on the scene, Felix Pastorius' Hipster Assassins and Social Experiment, The worlds only J-pop big band Morning Musuko! and is currently working on his follow up record.
Chris Ward is an official Yamaha Performing Artist.