2012 is also the kickoff year for a co-led project with piano great PHIL MARKOWITZ, composer of the well-known song SNO’ PEAS (originally recorded by pianist Bill Evans) and frequent collaborator with musicians such as Dave Liebman, Toots Thielemans, and Billy Hart. Zach and Phil debuted their new book during a tour of southern Italy in March 2012, and brought it to a sold-out weekend crowd at Chicago’s Green Mill the following April.
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 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”, “Live at Nick’s Place”, “Two A Day”, “Live at Chateauvalion”, and “Live at The Rising Sun”. Phil has performed and/or recorded with such notables as Mel Lewis, Marion McPartland, Phil Woods, Lionel Hampton, Nick Brignola, Joe Chambers, Miroslav Vitous, Joe Williams and, an association that continues to this day, Bob Mintzer. Phil is the pianist in Bob’s quartet and big band, and can be heard on such recordings as “In The Moment”, “Live at MCG”, 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 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 16 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” and “Manhattan Dialogues” on ZOHO records. Also with Liebman, Phil is the pianist with the all-star group “Saxophone Summit”, with Ravi Coltrane, Joe Lovano, (Lieb), Billy Hart, and Cecil McBee. The first CD, with Michael Brecker, “Gathering of the Spirits”, received wide critical acclaim. The group, now reformed, with Ravi Coltrane, has released “Seraphic Light” 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, 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 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.
ZACH BROCK, jazz violinist and composer, is forging a unique musical identity with “audacious ingenuity and masterful command of his instrument,” says Bill Milkowski of Jazz Times. Distinguished jazz critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune writes that Zach Brock is a violinist “whose every phrase argues for the instrument’s value in 21st century jazz.” Neil Tesser echoes, “Zach Brock is the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation.”
2013 is proving a landmark year for Brock as he tours as co-leader with renowned pianist/composer Phil Markowitz, appears in festivals with the Stanley Clarke Band, and premiers new classical works by Laurie Altman and Preston Stahly. In August Brock was named “2013 Rising Star Violinist” by Downbeat Magazine.
Zach’s debut recording for the Dutch label Criss Cross Jazz, Almost Never Was, was listed as one of The Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Jazz Recordings of 2012 and features Brock with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland in a set of new originals, standards, and contemporary classics. While Criss Cross’ considerable catalog of renown jazz players stretches back to 1978, Almost Never Was is the first to be led by a violinist. In December 2012 the quartet played to a capacity audience for the album’s release at NYC’s Jazz Standard and were also featured in a live broadcast for WNYC’s Soundcheck with John Schaefer.
In 2010, alongside longtime collaborator Matt Wigton on bass and Frederick Kennedy on drums, Zach recorded The Magic Number. The trio made their international debut at the 2010 Toronto Jazz Festival and in 2012 they represented the U.S. Department of State as Arts Envoys to the Solomon Islands.
Zach’s first band, The Coffee Achievers, after recording two CDs on Brock’s Secret Fort label, performed at Carnegie Hall in 2005 at the invitation of trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas. Later that year they were invited to perform at the Ouro Preto Jazz Festival in Brazil by recommendation of MacArthur Grant recipient Patricia Barber.
As a sideman Zach has performed and recorded with many notable artists such as bass legend Stanley Clarke, brass virtuoso Wycliffe Gordon, the neo-funk band Snarky Puppy, bassist/ composer/Greenleaf recording artist Matt Ulery, and singer-songwriter/cellist Ben Solle.
Born in Lexington, KY, Zach grew up in a family of musicians and was performing publicly by the age of six. From a background in classical and folk music, Zach became serious about studying jazz while in high school. He moved to Chicago with the dual goal of furthering his classical studies at Northwestern University, while embracing the city’s rich jazz scene. He relocated to New York City in 2005.