“Greg Ward’s Phonic Juggernaut” is a consummation of the marriage of jazz improvisation and composition, an unrestrained exploration of the saxophone as a voice all its own. As Ward’s debut with Thirsty Ear, the recording presents a burgeoning jazz force in a landscape of his own percipience and inspiration.
The trio of Ward with Joe Sanders impeccable bass and Damion Reid polyrhythmic drums provides ample breathing room for Ward to tear along at his own pace, blasting along with dexterity and virtuosity that are extraordinary that belies Ward’s 28 years. Sanders and Reid impeccably complement Ward’s each move, pounding and bopping along with every note, invigorating moments of intensity and providing an ambient strength and driving spirit throughout the hour-long production.
In his work Ward carefully balances improvisation and his own compositions, crafting polished and dignified works that still breathe unrestrained, bursting with vitality and soul. He does not compromise cerebral comprehension for energetic soul-stirring jazz, but manages to capture both. His spirit and vigor fit his age, but his soul and prowess belies his youth.
It is no simple task to encapsulate such pulchritude and fervor, but Ward’s Phonic Juggernaut certainly lives up to its name, constructing an album that exists as an organic jazz entity, simultaneously compelling and sublime.