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 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. As a graduate student, he conducted one of the university’s twelve jazz ensembles while playing bass in the world-renowned “One O’clock Lab Band” and accompanying visiting jazz musicians. including trumpeters Jon Faddis, Tom Harrell, Conte Condoli, saxophonist Frank Foster, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and pianists Kenny Barron, Jim McNeely, and Hal Galper.
Ed became one of the busiest musicians in the Dallas area during his time in school. He gigged with area jazz artists including pianist Red Garland (a former member of the famed Miles Davis Quintet), saxophonist Marcel Ivery (a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) and Dallas tenor sax legend James Clay. As a member of the Dave Zoller trio, Ed played bass with Eddie Daniels, Carl Fontana, Jim Hall and other “name” artists. Also during this time, Ed toured with New Orleans legend Al Hirt, Texas R&B star Delbert McClinton and the Smothers Brothers. Performances with Billy Eckstine, Cab Calloway, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Vic Damone rounded out his busy schedule.
In 1989 Ed moved to Toronto, continuing his career. Establishing himself as one of the busiest jazz bassists in Canada's largest city, he worked with the great Lee Konitz and toured with pianist Monty Alexander, trumpet legend Harry "Sweets" Edison, tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton and Bud Shank. Ed also was on the jazz faculty of the National Music Camp of Canada, teaching and performing alongside Frank Mantooth, Pat LaBarbera.
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-year tenure in the Crescent City, 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. He also taught for three years at New Orleans' Loyola University as professor of jazz bass and jazz combos.
Ed began an eight-year-long association with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company in 1997, working in several positions in the entertainment department aboard the company's three vessels. In 2003, Ed became the bandleader/bassist aboard the legendary steamboat Delta Queen until Katrina's devastation cut the 2005 cruising season short.
Other activities outside of Ed's employment with the steamboat company included appearances with Connie Jones' Crescent City Jazz Band at the winter and summer Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy in 2005.
In April of 2005, Ed Wise received the honor of being named one of New Orleans' “Jazz All-Stars” in New Orleans Magazine's annual Jazz All-Star issue. And in March of 2005, he recorded "Ed Wise and his New Orleans Jazz Band", the first CD under his own name, featuring his original and imaginative arrangements for 8, 9 and 10-piece ensembles, playing traditional New Orleans-style jazz.
After his move to Philadelphia in the wake of Katrina, Ed quickly became a fixture on Philly's music scene. These days, Ed can be seen and heard all over Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Early on in his residency in Philly, Ed assembled his current working band, also called "Ed Wise and his New Orleans Jazz Band". They have become a mainstay on the traditional jazz and swing circuit in and around Philadelphia and the east coast.
And, less than a month after Ed arrived in Philly, he was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to serve as musical director for the school's jazz band, "Penn Jazz".
Ed also stays busy touring the jazz festival circuit with the Midiri Brothers Band and performing around the east coast with Carmen Dee's orchestra. Recently, he has recorded and toured with "Jim (Fryer) and Bria's (Skonberg) Borderline Jazz Band". Ed is also frequently tapped for recording projects by local artists, including popular Philadelphia singer-songwriters Lizanne Knott and Aiden James.
Since Katrina, Ed has returned to New Orleans every spring to perform with Connie Jones, Banu Gibson, Tim Laughlin and other New Orleans notables at French Quarter Festival and JazzFest.