BenBen Markley is a pianist, composer, arranger, author, educator, and leader of the Ben Markley Big Band, a daring ensemble known for their creative takes on beloved modern and contemporary jazz classics. Fresh off the heels of Clockwise: The Music of Cedar Walton, Markley tackles his most ambitious project yet: Ari’s Funhouse, a big band album featuring the music of drummer Ari Hoenig, with Hoenig himself in the drum chair. The album received great critical acclaim and was selected as one of the best 4 star rated albums of 2022 by DownBeat magazine.
Markley is active as a composer and arranger with many big band and vocal jazz charts published through UNC Jazz Press as well as his own website. Recent arranging commissions include the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, and Wyoming Jazz Educators All-State Jazz Band.
In 2023 Markley published Cedar. The Life and Music of Cedar Walton (University of North Texas Press). Markley conducted more than seventy-five interviews with friends and family members, musicians who played with or were otherwise influenced by Walton, and industry figures such as club owners. Musicians interviewed include such stars as Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, and Ron Carter. Walton’s wife Martha shared her extensive archives of photos, ephemera such as fliers and tour itineraries, and letters to inform Markley’s writing which is the definite biography on Walton.
Markley’s book A Practical Approach to Improvisation - The David Hazeltine Method was published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz in December of 2014. It documents David Hazeltine’s process of creating etudes from transcriptions.
Markley is an active performer in the Denver-metropolitan area and along the front range. He currently teaches jazz piano and serves as department chair of the music department for the University of Wyoming.