Pamela Wise

Pamela Wise began composing music and playing the piano by ear at the age of 5. Her father Robert C. Wise who was a bassist decided to start her on piano lessons when she was nine. After studying the piano basics, Pamela began playing for her church choir which was directed by her father. While in high school, Pamela formed her own R&B group called the Ohio Movement which performed throughout the Midwest and East Coast. After 8 years with the Ohio Movement, Pamela decided to leave the band. “I always wanted to be a jazz composer and pianist, it was definitely in my blood after growing up listening to it.” When her brother Craig finished college and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1978 he encouraged Pamela to move with him and she did. While in Cleveland, Pamela attended Cuyahoga Community College and further studied music. “Shortly after Craig received an employment opportunity from a prominent bank in Detroit, MI and we moved to Detroit in December 1979. I worked with several R&B groups in the Detroit area, but I still wanted to play jazz.”

Pamela bumped into Wendell Harrison in a recording studio while taping some of her compositions. Wendell (who later became her husband) became interested in her music and started featuring her compositions on his recordings as well as featuring her in his ensembles. Pamela was blessed with the opportunity to be performing and composing for artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Leon Thomas and Eddie Harris (to name a few).

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Reviews

“Wise, an assured bop pianist with a Tyneresque (as in McCoy Tyner) touch, composes strong melodies and braces them with the simmering rhythms of the Afro-Cuban tradition.” Dan Ouellette-Downbeat Magazine

“Far from Havana, the Latin jazz movement has taken root in such unlikely places as Detroit, where pianist/composer Pamela Wise displays a thorough understanding of the idiom on SONGO FESTIVIDAD. With special guest Jerry Gonzalez on congas and Wendell Harrison, Detroit’s resident jazz guru on clarinet, Wise has fashioned a hybrid that capitalizes on authentically performed Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms while allowing Harrison and other soloists to flex their avant-garde oriented improvisational style

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