Bonner is only the second-most famous pianist born in Rocky Mount, N.C., behind Thelonious Monk. It’s indicative of Bonner’s lack of fame and appreciation that Monk is listed as a notable resident on Rocky Mount’s Wikipedia page, but Bonner is not. But the pianist Bonner was most often compared to was not Monk but McCoy Tyner. Scott Yanow’s allmusic.com review of "Impressions Of Copenhagen" said Bonner’s piano playing was »McCoy Tyner-inspired«. Bonner’s admittedly biased drummer, Tom Tilton, even felt Bonner surpassed Tyner. »Joe Bonner has all the power of McCoy, he has all the capability of McCoy, but he’s so much more romantic,« Tilton said, according to westword.com. »I mean, I’ve been there time after time where there were tears running down people’s faces when he would play a ballad. He could captivate a room like nobody I’ve ever experienced before.« Bonner did most of his playing over the last two decades in Denver, where he was beloved and appreciated. Even Gov. John Hickenlooper was a Bonner fan. »He was without question, the most talented piano player I’ve ever heard,« the governor told the website heyreverb.com in a remembrance of Bonner. »… I want people to know that I loved Joe Bonner.«
Joe Bonner: Impressions Of Copenhagen
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