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Phil Markowitz (born 1952) is a jazz pianist and educator.
He graduated from the Eastman School of Music and in 1979 had his "first big break" working with Chet Baker's band. He is most known as a sideman. He made a 1980 recording entitled Sno' Peas with Eddie Gomez and Al Foster. He recorded two live duo albums with Dave Liebman as a member of Liebman's group; Markowitz calls this work the "biggest break of all" and they have worked together on and off for fifteen years. He has also served as a pianist in Bob Mintzer's Big Band.
In 1979, Markowitz started a four-year association with Chet Baker's band that took him around the world, and yielded such recordings as Broken Wing, Live at Nick's Place, Two A Day, Live at Chateauvallon, and Live at The Rising Sun. Markowitz has performed and/or recorded with such notables as Mel Lewis, Marian McPartland, Phil Woods, Lionel Hampton, Nick Brignola, Joe Chambers, Miroslav Vitous and Joe Williams.
His recordings as leader include Taxi Ride (which features a reunion with his lifelong friend Toots Thielemans), In the Woods, Sno' Peas (1980), Restless Dreams (with vibraphonist Joe Locke) and 7 plus 8, with Italian saxophonist Maurizio Giammarco.
Markowitz has recently[when?] been heard with the all-star group Saxophone Summit (with Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano and David Liebman), but his credentials span a cornucopia of jazz; from the traditional to the avant-garde.
Markowitz's notoriety as a composer came in the late 1970s when he was playing in a New York club with Toots Thielemans. As they were playing Markowitz's composition "Sno' Peas", pianist Bill Evans walked in, loved the song, and asked Thielemans to bring it to their upcoming recording session. Evans' and Thielemans' subsequent recording of "Sno' Peas" on the Grammy-nominated album Affinity put Markowitz on the map as a jazz composer.
As well as performing around the globe, Markowitz has served as guest artist and clinician in major conservatories and 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.
Markowitz 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. He is married to singer/actress Davia Sacks.
- Leonard Feather, Ira Gitler: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press, Oxford usw. 1999; ISBN 978-0-19-532000-8