André Ward, Smooth jazz Artist

This week’s Featured Artist is a young talented, passionate and creative smooth jazz musician, who started his musical career at a very young age with his first musical instrument being the snare drum.  He later moved on to the trumpet and saxophone before settling for the alto saxophone.  Meet smooth jazz Saxophonist – André Ward


Born in Chicago, USA

Genre: Jazz Fusion, R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop, Smooth/Contemporary Jazz

Hush Music/Orpheus Enterprises has been at the forefront of Smooth Jazz for over 30 years.  Having introduced the careers of the genre’s top artists such as Najee, Kenny G, and Alex Bugnon, the label continues its long-standing legacy with the latest release from Andre Ward.  Smooth Jazz’s top saxophonist is changing the atmosphere by fusing the elements of traditional Jazz, R ‘n’ B, Funk, Hip-Hop and Pop into an explosive sound that is incomparable.   A master of the soprano, alto and tenor saxophone, flute and EWI (electronic wind instrument), the multi-dimensional musician is reinventing the genre with the release of his new album, CAUTION.

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Andre was introduced to music at an early age.  “When I was 12 years-old, I met the drums and started playing the snare drums for about six months, then courted the trumpet for three months, but when I picked-up the saxophone, I fell in love and the eternal union began,” reveals the musician.

Similar to his musical inspirations Grover Washington Jr., Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley, Andre’s study of music and its many different intricacies enabled him to perfect a traditional jazz sound enhanced by his distinctive creative flair.  Bestowed with a music performing scholarship at the renownedBerklee College of Music in Boston, Andre continued to pursue his passion by building a resume that rivaled his contemporaries.   Having toured and worked with some of the biggest names in music, his dynamic performances have captivated audiences worldwide by creating an environment of smooth, sweet, hypnotic, sounds that seem surreal.

Fueled by passion, creativity, and pure talent, expectations became reality when Andre’s debut album, FEELIN YOU, reached a top five position on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.  But it didn’t stop there.  His sophomore album,STEPPIN UP, peaked in the top ten and it was no coincidence coming from Chicago, “The Stepper’s Capitol,” that his cover of R. Kelly’s hit, “Step In The Name of Love,” became his first single to cross genre lines.  It broadened Andre’s fan base to include both R ‘n’ B and Hip-Hop enthusiasts.  With his third release, CRYSTAL CITY, he continued to top the charts while receiving rave reviews and the growth and innovative approach showcased on his previous projects continued to be consistent.

Now with his latest release, CAUTION, Andre continues to take you on a musical journey, with an even deeper understanding of where he has evolved as both a musician and as a person. A product of Queen of Sheba Ent./Hush Music/Orpheus Enterprises, CAUTION is a groundbreaking masterpiece executive produced by Beau Huggins.  “From Najee to our collaboration with super producer, Rahni Song, Hush Music/Orpheus Enterprises name has been synonymous with quality music,” stated Beau.  “Young, accomplished and edgy, Andre continues to build on the foundation laid by his label’s predecessors.  This is not only the evolution of Andre, but of the label itself.”

CAUTION invites music lovers to a magical place that shines with unusual brilliance, where Andre is the tour guide.  The musical journey begins with the meaningful, “Crossing the Border,” which is not only about moving through different cycles of life but about breaking musical borders by incorporating African and Latin sounds.  It’s followed by the feel-good “Come On,” a conversation of two melodies sharing one moment.  Then the infectious “Dre’s Funk” follows, fusing old-school funk with modern rhythms and elements of Jazz.

The journey continues with the new classic, “I Will Love You (The Wedding Song),” featuring the sweet vocals of Jamie Knight.  The first single off the album, “Marvin’s Medley,” is an upbeat homage to one of the most extraordinary songwriters and musicians of his time, Marvin Gaye. From upbeat to smoothed-out, Andre features the flute on the dreamy, “Night Flight.”  The union of the soft high flute with the low tenor sax makes for an intimate musical conversation.

His artistry is further showcased on “CAUTION,” which takes on a positive attitude, not only in its’ melody but also in its’ meaning; one should take their time to slow down and enjoy life.  And as a seasoned artist with four albums to his name, Andre’s approach is not about fear but about taking the time to be creative.

The depth of Andre’s musical skills continues to shine throughout the album.  TheEWI takes center stage on “Curiosity” by bridging the gap of modern technology and traditional instruments.  And the beautiful voice of Naomi Emmanuel is featured on, “Do You Remember,” a catchy throwback tune that will have you reminiscing on just how good music made you feel.

Andre finishes it off with “What If,” a thought-provoking song accented by the vocal styling of Janice Dempsey.  Not only a song about self-reflection and gratitude but one that gives a musical nod to all the jazz greats that Andre studied and admired with its structure and arrangement.

Andre Ward continues to evolve into the type of musician that truly lives for the love of making music that respects the past, yet steps into the future.  And with his newest release, he continues to do just that.  CAUTION is the perfect escape that will continue to keep Smooth Jazz on the map.

Biographical information courtesy of André Ward’s website