UW Music Professor’s Book Nominated for Multiple Awards

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Ben Markley

University of Wyoming Department of Music Associate Professor Ben Markley’s new book, titled “Cedar: The Life and Music of Cedar Walton,” is nominated for two awards.

Published in May 2023, his book was nominated for a Best Biography/Autobiography Award by the Jazz Journalists Association, as well as 2024 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.

Markley’s book details the life of the late Grammy Award–winning pianist, bandleader and composer, who is a major figure in jazz. Markley is associated with a variety of styles from bebop to funk, and famous for composing several standards.

One hallmark of Walton’s impact is his numerous long-term collaborations with giants such as trombonist Curtis Fuller and drummer Billy Higgins. By the end of his career, Walton’s discography, as both a band member and bandleader, included many dozens of vaunted recordings with some of the most notable jazz musicians of the 1960s through the first decade of the 21st century.

During the process of writing the book, Markley conducted more than 75 interviews with friends and family members; musicians who played with or were otherwise influenced by Walton; and industry figures, such as club owners.

The winner of the Best Biography/Autobiography Award will be determined by the voting of Jazz Journalists Association’s approximately 250 members. Voting will take place at the beginning of March.

Markley is a pianist, composer, arranger, author, educator and leader of the Ben Markley Big Band, a daring ensemble known for its creative takes on modern classics. He also chairs UW’s Department of Music.

For more information about Markley’s book, email bmarkley@uwyo.edu.

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