A JAZZ HISTORY LESSON WITH JOE BONNER
Joe Bonner will give a free, and free-wheeling,
lecture/demonstration/Q&A at the Northampton Center for the Arts, from
3-4pm on Friday, February 20. Bonner will give a solo concert at the
Center that evening at 7:30pm. as part of 'A World of Piano' Series.
Since he hit the scene in the 1970s, pianist Joe Bonner has
collaborated with some of the most important figures in jazz,
including Roy Haynes, Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders and Billy
Harper. Bonner has released many highly regarded albums for Muse and
Bonner will tell stories, demonstrate from the piano and take your
questions. This event is open to students of all of ages and is made
possible by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council.
Joe Bonner emerged in the 1970s as one of the most exciting and in-demand pianists in jazz. Beginning in 1970, when Roy Haynes asked him to replace Chick Corea in his ensemble, Bonner spent the decade playing in some of the most exciting bands of the time. The late trumpeter HYPERLINK "http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,442687,00.html" Freddie Hubbard hired Bonner for two years before the pianist joined saxophonist HYPERLINK "http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,489033,00.html" Pharoah Sanders’ ensemble.
The band Bonner anchored through 1974, featuring Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart, is arguably the best in Sanders’ career. Bonner can be found on “Black Unity”, “Village of the Pharoahs” and “Live At The East”, among others, all released on Impulse!. Later in the decade, Bonner performed with saxophone great HYPERLINK "http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,441268,00.html" Billy Harper, and appears on Harper’s “Black Saint”, the first recording on the venerable Italian label of the same name.
Joe Bonner was born in 1948 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the birthplace of another piano player: Thelonious Monk. (By coincidence, while living in New York, Bonner lived in Monk’s old building, just behind Lincoln Center on west 64th St. and West End Avenue.) Bonner’s early mentor in Rocky Mount was the respected tenor player Harold Vick, who knew Monk.
As Bonner tells the story, “I finally met Monk on one cold November night of jazz at the Village Vanguard. My mother had just sent me a white and blue plaid coat from Rocky Mount. He had on the exact same coat! He said to me, ‘Yeah Joe! I heard so much about you from our home-boy Harold Vick. You’re wearing my same jacket! I just got this one from my mother in Rocky Mount.’ Then he danced for me.”
Bonner’s grandfather was a performer in minstrel shows, his mother sang and his father played violin. He studied music from the time he was in elementary school. Bonner earned a Bachelor's Degree in Classical Music from Virginia State (Dr. Billy Taylor’s alma mater), before his travels took him to New York and around the world. He lived in Europe (mostly in Copenhagen), where he accompanied traveling jazz artists and made highly regarded recordings for the Muse, SteepleChase and Theresa labels. Since the 1980s, Bonner has lived in Denver.
original post for "world of piano" series here