Phil Markowitz, a 37 year veteran of the international jazz scene, is dedicated to realizing the full potential of improvisational music. As leader of his own dynamic piano trio, he exhibits an unyielding, progressive approach to his compositions, which range from hard-cutting chromaticism to the most lyrical expressions of post romantic ballads. His trio albums include Catalyasis, with his current trio of Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum, Taxi Ride (which features an incredible reunion with his lifelong friend, Toots Thielemans), In the Woods, and Sno’ Peas. His quartet recordings include Restless Dreams (with vibraphonist Joe Locke) and 7 + 8, with Italian saxophonist Maurizio Giammarco.
Recently, Phil has been heard with the all-star group Saxophone Summit (with Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano and David Liebman), but 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. The four-year association took him on European and U.S. tours, and yielded such recordings as Broken Wing, Live at Nick’s Place, Two A Day, Live at Chateauvalion, and Live at The Rising Sun. During the 80’s, Phil performed and recorded with such notables as Mel Lewis, Marion McPartland, Phil Woods, Lionel Hampton, Nick Brignola, Joe Chambers, Miroslav Vitous, Joe Williams, Paul Winter and, Bob Mintzer. Phil is the regular pianist in Bob’s quartet and big band, and can be heard on such recordings as In the Moment, Softly, the Grammy Award-winning Homage to Count Basie, Quality Time, Latin in Manhattan, Big Band Trane, Only in New York, Departure, Art of the Big Band, and Spectrum.
Phil’s compositional notoriety began in 1978 when he was performing in New York 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.
Since 1991, Phil has been playing, touring, and recording with sax virtuoso Dave Liebman. Phil has been a 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, and the critically acclaimed Manhattan Dialogues, on ZOHO records. Phil is the pianist with the all-star group, Saxophone Summit, with Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, Liebman, Billy Hart, and Cecil McBee. They recorded the CD, Gathering of the Spirits for Telarc International in 2005, and the follow-up recording Seraphic Light in 2008.
As well as performing around the globe, Phil has served as guest artist and clinician in universities throughout 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.
In addition to his endowments from the Howard Foundation and Chamber Music America-The Doris Duke Foundation, Phil has been awarded composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The New York Foundation for the Arts.
Manhattan School of Music faculty since 2001.