Chicago saxophonist Greg Ward says he acquired the identify for his latest band – Rogue Parade – from a podcast he heard.
Regardless of the source, the title appeared good Friday night time at the Inexperienced Mill, the place Ward and rambunctious colleagues produced a music that strutted joyously from one offbeat to the subsequent in a riot of sound.
Not that every thing Rogue Parade played was loud and rhythmically buoyant. But even at sluggish tempos, this quintet reveled in thick instrumental textures and intriguingly bizarre sonorities, all made cohesive by the ingenuity of Ward’s compositions and the fluidity of his colleagues’ improvisations.
There’s an incredible deal about this unit that stands out, beginning with its instrumentation, Ward’s keening alto saxophone strains drenched in colour, concord and dissonance from two electric guitars (nimbly played by Dave Miller and Matt Gold). Add Matt Ulery’s bass (electric and acoustic) and Quin Kirchner’s thunderous drums, and you had a band that instructed the work of more than 5 hyper-kinetic musicians.
But for all of the decibels and power concerned, not once did this music turn out to be overbearing or pompous. These players listened too intently to at least one one other and dealt too rigorously with the compositions at hand for that to have happened.
All the music of the evening’s first set derived from Ward and Rogue Parade’s hanging new debut album, “Stomping Off from Greenwood” (Greenleaf Music), its first six tracks performed in sequence. If the music bristled with the spirit of invention on the recording, it proved nonetheless extra emphatically efficient in live performance.
Who might sit still through the repeated-notice agitations and clanging, duel-guitar eruptions of “Metropolis,” which opened the performance? The sinuous themes and full-throated exhortations of “Excerpt 1” unfolded at a slower, extra majestic tempo, but the exuberant character of the music remained the same.
Later within the evening, the ever-swelling ensemble sound of “The Contender,” otherworldly sonic effects of “The Fourth Reverie” and inherent rhythmic and harmonic rigidity of “Let Him Reside” attested to the storytelling nature of Ward’s music. The bandleader regarded his solos not as events for grandstanding but, as an alternative, as themes awash in ensemble sound, his strains bobbing to the forefront before receding into the background.
But each time Ward’s alto saxophone was at its most outstanding, it was straightforward to admire the dusky character of his tone and the tightly coiled nature of his musical statements.
Ward has been delivering essential work on report and in concert for years. The “Stomping Off from Greenwood” music stands as his latest excessive point.
Greg Ward and Rogue Parade perform at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Inexperienced Mill Jazz Membership, 4802 N. Broadway; $15; 773-878-5552 or www.greenmilljazz.com.
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