Primarily a trumpeter, Jimmy Wade led his own groups in Chicago beginning around 1916. He traveled to the West Coast with blues singer Lucille Hegamin and played an extended engagement in Seattle before moving to New York in 1919. Wade returned to Chicago after leaving Hegamin around 1922 and worked with pianist Doc Cooke. Soon after, Wade began leading his own band in and around Chicago. In 1924, violinist Eddie South became the frontman and musical director of Jimmy Wade's Syncopators, making his recording debut with the band. The group played for a time at the Moulin Rouge Café in Chicago. The band also played the Savoy Ballroom and Club Alabam in New York before South left in 1927. In 1928, Wade led his own recording session in Chicago for the Vocalion label; sidemen included fellow trumpeter Punch Miller and pianist Alex Hill. Thereafter Wade worked mostly as a leader, although his recordings have been reissued under the names of his somewhat more famous sidemen: South, Miller, and Hill.