Phil Markowitz, is forty year veteran of the International Jazz scene and 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 “Perputity” on Dottime Records, “Catalysis” on Sunnyside Records, "Taxi Ride" (which features an incredible reunion with his lifelong friend, Toots Thielemans), "In the Woods", "Sno Peas", with Eddie Gomez and Al Foster and "Restless Dreams" (with vibraphonist Joe Locke).
Mr. Markowitz leads his own trio, and a quartet and duo with violinist Zach Brock, and is the pianist in the all-star group "Saxophone Summit" (David Liebman, Joe Lovano and Greg Osby and Billy Hart). 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 multi decade 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", "Live at Nick's Place", "Two A Day", and "Live at Chateauvalion". Phil has also performed and/or recorded with Mel Lewis, Marion McPartland, Phil Woods, Ravi Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Lionel Hampton, Nick Brignola, Joe Chambers, Miroslav Vitous, and Joe Williams. Phil has a long association with Bob Mintzer and was the pianist on 15 big band and small group recordings including "In The Moment", "Live at MCG", the Grammy Award-winning "Homage to Count Basie", "Quality Time", "Latin in Manhattan", and "Big Band Trane".
Phil's notoriety as a composer came in the late 1970'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 27 years Phil has been playing, touring, and recording with NEA saxophone master Dave Liebman. Phil has served as pianist, composer, and/or producer with the quintet on "New Vista", "Voyage", "Return of the Tenor", "Songs for My Daughter", "Miles Away", "Turn It Around”, and two duo albums, "But Beautiful" and "Manhattan Dialogues", which was recorded in Greenfield Hall at the Manhattan School of Music. The all-star group “Saxophone Summit” has released 4 recordings including "Gathering of the Spirits", “Seraphic Light”, “Visitation”, “Compassion- The Music of John Coltrane”, and tours regularly in the US and Europe.
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, Oberlin Conservatory. His academic base is the Manhattan School of Music, where he is a professor in the graduate and doctoral divisions.
Phil has received endowments and multiple 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.