Ward grew up in a musical family and sang as a child in gospel groups.
He began to play the saxophone under the influence of Charlie Parker's music.
In 2000 he won the High School Jazz Soloist Award of the magazine Down Beat.
In 2001 he spent at Steans Music Institute in Ravinia.
He first came back to Chicago, where he was responsible for Fred Anderson in his Velvet Lounge Wednesday night program from 2002.