Ed reed can't remember when he didn't sing. He grew up in Watts with Charles Mingus and Little Esther as neighbors. His enthusiasm is undiminished. He's celebrating the release of his new CD at 78 years old.
"This is magic. I'm doing something right," says Ed.
He's singing those American standards, but he has a different perspective of them.
"Many of them teach about grieving and how to let go," says Ed.
"Really, they're that painful, in a sense?" asks ABC7's Don Sanchez.
"Some of them. 'The night is bitter, the stars have lost their glitter,'" says Ed. "The winds grow colder and suddenly you're older."
It's a voice that recalls a lifetime of experience and hope because for 40 years, Ed Reed was a drug addict. He was in and out of San Quentin and Folsom State Prison four times. There were other musicians there, too in prison and they would do shows together, sometimes reflecting times of despair.
"The drug was so awful, heroin and alcohol, I use to OD. I'd wake up, they're trying to revive me while they're dragging people out in the alley to die," says Ed.
He couldn't stop, but the change came in 1986. He recovered and has never looked back.
Singing was a passion. He started playing clubs, the audience grew, and Ed found a new calling offering other people direction.
"What can you do to make this the best moment you've ever had?" asks Ed. "Somebody said change your thinking, change your life. That's what happened to me."