Joe Bonner, a pianist who recorded more than a dozen albums as a leader over the past four decades, and served as a sideman for musicians such as Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes and Billy Harper, died in Denver, Colo., Nov. 20. The cause was heart disease. Bonner was 66.
Born April 20, 1948 in Rocky Mount, N.C., Bonner obtained a bachelor’s degree in classical music from Virginia State University. Influenced by McCoy Tyner, he worked with Haynes, Hubbard and Sanders in the early ’70s. He began releasing albums as a leader during the same period, eventually recording for such labels as Muse, SteepleChase, Evidence and his own Bonner Party imprint. His most recent release was Current Events on the Cherry Creek label this year.
Bonner resided in, and worked primarily in, the Denver area.