Phil Markowitz, thirty plus year veteran of the International Jazz scene is dedicated to realizing the full potential of improvisational music within the jazz idiom. He performs original compositions, which range from hard-cutting chromaticism to the most lyrical post-romantic ballads. Inventive, virtuostic, and accessible, Markowitz presents a forward-looking vision for contemporary music. His recordings as leader include “Catalysis” on Sunnyside Records, “Taxi Ride” (which features an incredible reunion with his lifelong friend, Toots Thielemans), “In the Woods”, “Sno’ Peas”, “Restless Dreams” (with vibraphonist Joe Locke) and “7 + 8”, with Italian saxophonist Maurizio Giammarco.
Phil leads his own trio, and a quartet with violinist Zach Brock, and is the pianist in the all-star group “Saxophone Summit” (with Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano and David Liebman). His credentials span a cornucopia of jazz; from the traditional to the avant-garde; from his early associations with Chet Baker and Toots Thielemans, through his respective twenty and fifteen-year affiliations with Bob Mintzer and David Liebman.
In 1979, he joined Chet Baker’s band. That four-year association yielded such recordings as “Broken Wing” and “Live at Nick’s Subsequently, Phil has performed and/or recorded with such notables as Mel Lewis, Marion McPartland, Phil Woods, Lionel Hampton, Nick Brignola, Joe Chambers, Bob Mintzer, Miroslav Vitous, and Joe Williams.
Phil’s notoriety as a composer came in the late 70’s when he was playing in a NYC club with legendary jazz harmonica player, Toots Thielemans As they were playing Phil’s composition, “Sno’ Peas”, pianist Bill Evans walked in, loved the song, and asked Toots to bring it to their upcoming recording session. Evans’ and Thielemans’ subsequent recording of “Sno’ Peas” on the classic Grammy-nominated album, “Affinity”, put Markowitz on the map as a venerable jazz composer.
For the past 23 years Phil has been playing, touring, and recording with saxophone master Dave Liebman. Phil has served as pianist, composer, and/or producer on such albums as “A Walk in the Clouds”, “Meditations”, “New Vista”, “Voyage”, “Return of the Tenor”, “Songs for My Daughter”, “Miles Away” and “Turn It Around”. They have also recorded two duo albums, “But Beautiful” (in Japan), and “Manhattan Dialogues”, (live in Greenfield Hall at the Manhattan School of Music) on ZOHO records. Also with Liebman, Phil is the pianist and contributing composer for the all-star group “Saxophone Summit”, with Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, (Lieb), Billy Hart, and Cecil McBee. The first CD, with Michael Brecker, was “Gathering of the Spirits”, and the second, with Ravi Coltrane, was “Seraphic Light”. The third release “Visitations” will be released on Artist House/Blue Note in November 2013.
Phil has been artist in residence in major conservatories and universities throughout the world including the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Stockholm Conservatory of Music, North Carolina School for the Arts, and many others around the world. Academically speaking, however, his home base is the Manhattan School of Music, where he is a professor in the graduate and doctoral divisions.
Phil has received endowments and grants from The Howard Foundation, Chamber Music America-The Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and The New York Foundation for the Arts.