Carlos Ward (born in Ancón, Panama) is a jazz alto saxophonist and flautist. He is best known as a sideman.
His first instrument was the clarinet at age 13 when he lived in Seattle, Washington. Later he attended the Navy School of Music and worked with Albert Mangelsdorff when he was stationed in Germany.
His first major effort was his work with John Coltrane in the period 1965-66, although not appearing on any records.
He had long-lasting association with Don Cherry: from The Third World (also with Abdullah Ibrahim) through his appearance as featured soloist on the 1973 recording of Cherry's Relativity Suite to the band Nu during the 1980s and beyond.
His duet association with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim has also been significant to his career. Their 1982 Bracknell Festival appearance has been described as delicate, poignant, austere... conjuring a resonance from the simplest tune.
Ward was a member of Cecil Taylor's group in the period immediately after altoist Jimmy Lyons death in 1986.
He also was a member of The Ed Blackwell Project, and led his own quartet in 1987.