Ed Mann is a musician who is "a drummer and piano dabbler since childhood." He is best known for his mallet percussion performances onstage with Frank Zappa's ensemble from 1977 to 1988, and his appearances on over 30 of Zappa's albums, both studio recordings and with Zappa's band live. Mann also has released a number of CDs as a bandleader and composer.
Mann formed a band with Tommy Mars in mid 1973. By the end of that year he was studying with John Bergamo at CalArts. In 1977 Frank Zappa asked Bergamo to do some overdubbing on the Zappa In New York album and Bergamo in turn recommended Mann.
A few months later Ruth Underwood told Mann that Zappa was looking for a second keyboard player. When Ed called to recommend Tommy ("at midnite, the only time when you could reach Frank by phone"), Frank invited him to "come up to the house". Mann went to the house, where Terry Bozzio, Patrick O'Hearn, and Adrian Belew were jamming with Zappa. By 2:00am Ed was "in the band". Ed Mann later commented: "It took a few days for that all to sink in."
Mann can be heard playing gongs on J21's Yellow Mind:Blue Mind album.
Until mid-2014 Mann was a member of The Band From Utopia which has featured many Zappa alumni such as Robert Martin, Chad Wackerman, Albert Wing, Tom Fowler and Ralph Humprhries over the years. In 2008, Ed Mann toured with Project Object and sat in with Agent Moosehead at the New York Harvest Festival and Freedom Rally. In 2013 Mann began performing on percussion and electronics with The Z3, an organ, guitar and drums trio that adapts Zappa music to the Hammond Organ-centered jazz-funk tradition.
Mann joined Northeast blugrasstafarian jamband Desert Rain for their set at the Wormtown Music Festival in the fall of 2015. Since then he has been joining the group at clubs throughout the Northeast.
In July 2016 Mann joined Mike Dillon for three dates of Dillon's northeast US tour.