"Ben Markley convincingly demonstrates his potential to impact the jazz scene in years to come" is how Markley was described in a review from Jazz Improve NY magazine. Markley is a jazz pianist rooted in the bebop tradition of Bud Powell, Barry Harris, Phineas Newborn Jr., and Oscar Peterson. He has performed with Brian Lynch, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Lenny Picket, Ron McClure and George Garzone at various New York Venues including the Blue Note, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, and the Kitano Hotel. Markley's debut album entitled Spealio features tenor saxophone great George Garzone. Spealio features 10 original compositions including the title track "Spealio" that won an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2008.
Despite his musical upbringing, Markley did not decide to seriously pursue music at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, until his third year of college. Eventually, Markley earned Bachelor's degree from FHSU in piano performance. While attending FHSU, he had the opportunity to study with renowned pianist/composer/arranger Frank Mantooth.
In the fall of 2005 Markley moved to the jazz capital of the world to pursue a masters degree in jazz studies at New York University. While in New York, he studied with Brian Lynch, David Hazeltine, George Garzone, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano. In the summer of 2005 Markley was part of a trio that won the Promising Artists of the Twenty-First Century competition at NYU. This group toured and gave master classes in Costa Rica. Additionally, Markley has worked as an educator in several roles. He was as an adjunct piano instructor at New York University and is currently an instructor for the Virtual College at Fort Hays State University. Markley has as taught at various music camps and been a guest soloist and clinician for schools and universities in the Midwest.
Other notable professional experiences include working at jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City for artistic manager, record producer jazz icon Todd Barkan. Under Barkan, Markley worked as an intern and eventually, was promoted to in term manager of the jazz club. Markley also assisted Barkan with the coordinating of the 2006 Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival. This was a month long event that featured outstanding women in jazz including, Ann Hampton Calloway, Karrin Allyson, and Nancy King.
Markley is currently a DMA candidate at the University of Colorado.