Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Ed Wise began his study of the string bass at the age of twelve. At fifteen, he discovered jazz and began a life-long love affair with America’s original art form. At seventeen, Ed was already a member of the American Federation of Musicians Houston Local 65, performing with Houston’s legendary tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb and sitting in at local jam sessions with Sonny Stitt, Rashaan Roland Kirk, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and others.
After high school, Ed studied music at the world-renowned University of North Texas (formerly North Texas State University), earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Ed was one of the busiest musicians in the Dallas area during his college years, working with Dallas area jazz artists including former Miles Davis Quintet pianist Red Garland, saxophonist and former Jazz Messenger Marcel Ivery and former Ray Charles tenor man James Clay. Ed also performed with visiting musicians Eddie Daniels, Carl Fontana, Jim Hall and others. Nation-wide touring with New Orleans legend Al Hirt, Texas R&B star Delbert McClinton and the Smothers Brothers rounded out his busy schedule.
In 1989 Ed moved to Toronto where he established himself as one of the busiest jazz bassists in Canada. He worked with the great Lee Konitz and toured with Monty Alexander, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Scott Hamilton and Bud Shank.
1993 saw Ed heading back south, this time to New Orleans, where he lived and worked until August 29, 2005, the day Hurricane Katrina came to town. During his twelve years in the Big Easy, he performed with and arranged for Al Belletto's Big Jazz Band and sextet, Connie Jones' Crescent City Jazz Band, pianist Henry Butler, guitarist Herb Ellis, and pianist/vocalist Mose Allison. In 2005, Ed traveled to Italy to appear with Connie Jones' Crescent City Jazz Band at the winter and summer Umbria Jazz Festivals.
In 1997, Ed began an eight-year association with Delta Queen Steamboat Company, playing bass in various ensembles on the steamboats Mississippi Queen, American Queen and Delta Queen.
In 2005, he recorded his first CD "Ed Wise and his New Orleans Jazz Band", featuring his original and imaginative arrangements of traditional New Orleans jazz for 8, 9 and 10-piece ensembles. That same year, Wise received the honor of being named one of New Orleans' “Jazz All-Stars” in New Orleans Magazine's annual Jazz All-Star issue.
Arriving in Philadelphia in the wake of Katrina, Ed quickly became a fixture on the Philly jazz scene, freelancing on the bass and forming an east coast band to play the music from his CD. Named for the CD, Ed Wise and his New Orleans Jazz Band became quite popular and busy on the east coast traditional jazz and swing circuit. In 2012, Ed released his 2nd CD, "géants", featuring the music of Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Rex Stewart and others, performed by Ed on bass, along with Stan Slotter on cornet, Joe Midiri on clarinet and soprano saxophone and Pat Mercuri on guitar.
Ed also performed frequently with the legendary jazz guitarist and raconteur, Marty Grosz, while living on the east coast.
Additionally, Ed served as musical director for "Penn Jazz", the jazz band of the University of Pennsylvania, during his eight-year stay in Philly, and taught at the city's famed Settlement Music School his last year there.
In July 2013, Ed returned to his beloved New Orleans, where, once again, he became one of the busiest, most sought-after bassists in the Crescent City. Ed can be found most weeknights at Houston’s Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue, playing bass in David Hansen’s Garden District Trio. Most Saturday nights, he plays bass with Luther Kent and the Trick Bag Trio in the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Ed also performs frequently with vocalist Kitt Lough, legendary cornetist Connie Jones, clarinetist-of-note Tim Laughlin and other New Orleans notables.
Despite the move back to New Orleans, Ed’s touring schedule is still quite full, including several jazz festival appearances across the country with the Midiri Brothers Band.
In the fall of 2014, Ed was invited to rejoin the jazz department at Loyola University as its professor of jazz bass and jazz combo director.
As if the smile in the photo below weren't a dead giveaway, Ed Wise loves his life playing his beautiful 1880 German bass!