Nocturne is proud to present a special residency series based upon the dynamic and original works of Dr. Ben Markley. Along with drummer Brian Claxton and bassist Matt Smiley perform Markley's original compositions. Joined by drummer Brian Claxton and bassist Matt Smiley, Ben will be presenting compositions that pay homage to abd draw heavy inspiration from Bud Powell, Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea.
Accomplished band leader, composer/arranger, and pianist Ben Markley is active in both the Denver-metropolitan area Rocky Mountain front range. Ben (an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award Winner) has performed with Brian Lynch, Greg Osby, Eddie Henderson, Terell Stafford, George Garzone, and John Fedchock and many others. Markley's latest recording project is Clockwise - The Music of Cedar Walton (OA2 records) - a four-star reviewed recording by Downbeat Markley celebrates one of the more influential and beloved figures in jazz through this unique project, showcasing many of the late pianist and composer Cedar Walton's most revered tunes through new arrangements for big band. Markley currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Wyoming where he directs and coaches a number of Jazz ensembles and teaches applied jazz piano, improvisation and is the director of the UW Jazz Festival.
Matt Smiley is a bassist and composer based in Denver, CO who has performed in a variety of musical situations including classical music, gospel, rock, funk, bluegrass, jazz, and free improvisation. Smiley has performed internationally at the Montreux, North Sea and Montreal Jazz festivals and premièred John Hilliard’s 2nd Piano Concerto at the Kennedy Center. Smiley relocated from Virginia to Colorado where he received a master's degree in music with an emphasis in jazz studies at the University of Northern Colorado. While at UNC Smiley won the UNC Jazz Composer’s Award for an original composition titled “Double Quartet"
Dr. Brian Claxton is a professional musician and educator living in the front-range area who performs frequently throughout Colorado as a drummer, and bassist. While a graduate student at UNC, Claxton was honored to be recruited by jazz legend Monty Alexander to play in his Harlem Kingston Express Band at the recommendation of jazz legend Jeff Hamilton. Claxton has also had the distinct pleasure share the stage with: Donny McCaslin, Chris Potter, Christian McBride, Dave Douglas, Terrell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, John Fedchock, Jiggs Whiggham, Cyrus Chestnut, Wayne Bergeron, Eric Marienthal, Dave Weckl, Bobby Sanabria, Greg Gisbert, Jon Faddis, Kenni Holmen, and many more. Claxton Claxton also teaches at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood and drum set at the University of Northern Colorado. [Organizer's description]