Sonny Thornton

One of the South's most creative, intuitive musicians, Sonny Thornton is a master drummer who has been first call for a span of more than fifty years. Born in the District of Columbia, he was exposed to music at a very young age by his mother Margaret Ball Thornton. Margaret received her education at Howard University and finished her Master's in Music Education at Columbia in NYC. After forty years of teaching in Columbia SC, she was inducted into the SC Hall of fame as a master music educator and incidentally was the first African American woman to receive this honor in SC. Living in New York City while his mother furthered her education, Sonny heard the music at one of its sources. After moving to New Orleans, he learned from the players and atmosphere in the Crescent City, widely acknowledged as the birthplace of jazz. While living there, he developed a friendship with Ed Blackwell, one of the most influential drummers of the Twentieth Century. Ed's influence on Sonny's concept of music is undeniable. 
Thornton is extremely sensitive to the needs of the music and can be understated in his approach just as Blackwell was. Sonny's sense of freedom and his melodic style of soloing also sets him apart from most drummers performing today. Upon relocating to South Carolina, Sonny embarked on his long career of making music in the purest sense. He has performed with innumerable artists, both regionally and nationally known. Groups of almost every format from organ trios to big bands. He has played regularly with Bill Gerhardt, Sharon LaMotte, Mike Holstein, Moss Mack, Max Hightower, Shane Pruitt, John Valerio, Ian Brachitta, Michael Jefry Stevens, Aaron Bowen, Troy House, Shannon Hoover, Elaine Garrett, Loretta Holloway, Dale Burke, Keith Davis, Richard Shulman as well as Skip Pearson, Roy Hamilton, Laverne Baker and Eddie Harris to name just a few. When you experience one of his performances, you will hear one of the world's truly gifted musicians, Sonny Thornton.


© John Valerio 2019