Edwin Schuller has been professionally active in jazz and many other forms of improvisational music since the early 1970s. The son of Gunther Schuller, Mr. Schuller has from the beginning been exposed to many kinds of music and musicians. In hindsight it seems inevitable that he would find himself embarking on a musical career as a professional performer, composer, bandleader, producer, educator, and clinician.
Mr. Schuller's formal training in music began at age 15 when he took up the acoustic bass under the tutelage of Cleveland Orchestra cellist David Levinson. He went on to New England Conservatory of Music to continue his classical training on acoustic bass with Larry Wolf of the Boston Symphony, as well as jazz studies with pianist Jaki Byard and theory/composition with saxophonist Joe Maneri. Other teachers include Ran Blake, George Russell, Thomas McKinley, and Chuck Israels.
In 1975 (at age 20) Mr. Schuller played his first tour of the United States in a group led by guitar legend Pat Martino. Throughout the late '70s and '80s he went on to perform, record, and tour, both nationally and abroad, with a variety of musicians and bandleaders. These include the late Jaki Byard, Lee Konitz, The Paul Motian Quintet, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, the late Jim Pepper, Mal Waldron, Tim Berne, Mack Goldsbury, Perry Robinson, Marty Cook, Gerry Hemingway, Kenny Werner, Tom Varner, Night Ark, and a host of others. In the last decade he has continued to tour and record with Grammy Award-winner Joe Lovano, Mal Waldron, Perry Robinson, the late Jeanne Lee, Karl Berger, Andy Laster, Arto Tuncboyacian, Herb Robertson, Mat and Joe Maneri, Ernst Bier, Paul Grabowski, and brother George and father Gunther Schuller.
Mr. Schuller's more recent projects include co-producing and recording Witchi-Tai-To, a double CD set featuring the music of Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper with Native singers, an 8-piece jazz group, and the West Deutscher Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra arranged and conducted by Gunther Schuller (Tutu Records). He has also formed a working collaboration with his brother, drummer/composer George Schuller in a quartet named "The Schulldogs" with a CD out titled Tenor Tantrums featuring George Garzone and Tony Malaby (New World Records). Other recent endeavors have included tours and engagements with Eddie Henderson, Frank Lucy, Mat Maneri, Ray Anderson, Uli Lenz, the completion of a solo bass recording, and an ongoing project to write a book on the art of musical improvisation.
Besides his work as a performer, Mr. Schuller has written over 50 compositions for a variety of ensembles and contexts. Although mostly composing for his own projects, others have also commissioned him. In 2000, he received an honorable mention in the Jazz Composers Alliance/Julius Hemphill Composition Awards.