Alphonse Mouzon

Last updated
Alphonse Mouzon
Mouzon in 2009
Background information
Birth nameAlphonse Lee Mouzon [1]
Born(1948-11-21)November 21, 1948 [1]
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. [1]
Died25 December 2016(2016-12-25) (aged 68) [1]
Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California [1]
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, jazz-funk, disco [1]
Occupation(s)Musician, record label owner
InstrumentsDrums, keyboards [1]
Years active1970–2016
Labels Blue Note, Tenacious
Associated acts Weather Report, Eleventh House, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner

Alphonse Lee Mouzon [1] (November 21, 1948 – December 25, 2016) [1] was an American jazz fusion drummer and the owner of Tenacious Records, a label that primarily released Mouzon's recordings. He was a composer, arranger, producer, and actor. He gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s. [2]



Early life

Mouzon, of African, French, and Blackfoot indian descent, was born on November 21, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina. [1] He received his first musical training at Bonds-Wilson High School, and moved to New York City upon graduation. He studied drama and music at the City College of New York, as well as medicine at Manhattan Medical School. He continued receiving drum lessons from Bobby Thomas, the drummer for jazz pianist Billy Taylor. He played percussion in the 1968 Broadway show Promises, Promises , and he then worked with pianist McCoy Tyner. He spent a year as a member of the jazz fusion band, Weather Report. [1] After that Mouzon signed as a solo artist to the Blue Note label in 1972.

Blackfoot Confederacy ethnic group

The Blackfoot Confederacy, Niitsitapi or Siksikaitsitapi is a historic collective name for the four bands that make up the Blackfoot or Blackfeet people: three First Nation band governments in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, and one federally recognized Native American tribe in Montana, United States. The Siksika ("Blackfoot"), the Kainai or Kainah ("Blood"), and the Northern Piegan or Peigan or Piikani reside in Canada; the Southern Piegan/Piegan Blackfeet are located in the United States, where they are also known as the Blackfeet Nation. In modern use, the term is sometimes used only for the three First Nations in Canada.

Charleston, South Carolina City in the United States

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,875 in 2017. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Bonds-Wilson High School

Bonds-Wilson High School was a high school open from 1950 to 1985 in the predominantly African-American community of Liberty Hill in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The school's campus became part of a 1950s project to build mostly African-American schools in South Carolina.


Mouzon's visibility increased during his tenure with guitarist Larry Coryell's Eleventh House [1] fusion band from 1973 to 1975. Albums from this period include Introducing the Eleventh House, Level One, Mind Transplant (a solo album), and in 1977, a reconciliation recording with Coryell entitled Back Together Again.

Larry Coryell American guitarist

Larry Coryell was an American jazz guitarist known as the "Godfather of Fusion".

The Eleventh House was an important jazz fusion group of the 1970s, led by the guitarist Larry Coryell. The band was formed in 1973 and disbanded in 1976. The Eleventh House, alongside bands such as The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever, is considered as one of the pioneering jazz rock bands of the mid-1970s. Charter members of the Band beside Larry Coryell were Randy Brecker trumpet, Mike Mandel (keyboards), Danny Trifan (bass) and Alphonse Mouzon on drums.

Mouzon recorded Mind Transplant in 1974 with guitarist Tommy Bolin, who had previously played on Billy Cobham's Spectrum .

<i>Mind Transplant</i> 1975 studio album by Alphonse Mouzon

Mind Transplant is the third album by American jazz drummer Alphonse Mouzon recorded in 1974 and released on the Blue Note label.

Tommy Bolin American musician

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Billy Cobham American jazz drummer

William Emanuel Cobham Jr. is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with trumpeter Miles Davis and then with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. According to AllMusic's reviewer, Cobham is "generally acclaimed as fusion's greatest drummer".

He recorded four R&B albums: The Essence of Mystery (Blue Note, 1972), Funky Snakefoot (Blue Note, 1973), The Man Incognito (Blue Note, 1976) (including "Take Your Troubles Away"), and in the 1980s By All Means, which featured Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, the Seawind Horns, and Freddie Hubbard.

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Herbert Jeffrey Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Hancock started his career with Donald Byrd. He shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet, where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. In the 1970s, Hancock experimented with jazz fusion, funk, and electro styles.

Lee Ritenour American jazz guitarist, session musician, and composer

Lee Mack Ritenour is an American jazz guitarist who has been active since the late 1960s.

Mouzon performed with many prominent jazz-fusion musicians. In 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack album entitled Dingo. Mouzon composed the song The Blue Spot for the jazz club scene, and appeared as an actor and drummer in the Tom Hanks-directed film, That Thing You Do in 1996. Alphonse Mouzon played the role of Miles in the film The Highlife, which was exhibited at a film festival in Houston in 2003. He also can be seen with Michael Keaton and Katie Holmes in the film First Daughter , and as Ray in the movie The Dukes, along with Robert Davi, Chazz Palminteri and Peter Bogdanovich.

Miles Davis American jazz musician

Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.

Tom Hanks American actor and producer

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks is an American actor and filmmaker. Hanks is known for his comedic and dramatic roles in such films as Splash (1984), Big (1988), Turner & Hooch (1989), A League of Their Own (1992), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Apollo 13 (1995), You've Got Mail (1998), The Green Mile (1999), Cast Away (2000), Road to Perdition (2002), Cloud Atlas (2012), Captain Phillips (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and Sully (2016). He has also starred in the Robert Langdon film series, and voices Sheriff Woody in the Toy Story film series. He is one of the most popular and recognizable film stars worldwide, and is widely regarded as an American cultural icon.

Michael Keaton American actor

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Mouzon played with Stevie Wonder, [1] Eric Clapton, [1] Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, [1] Patrick Moraz, Betty Davis, and Chubby Checker. Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, during his acceptance speech for induction into the 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, listed Alphonse Mouzon as one of the band's influences from American music.

In 1992, Mouzon formed Tenacious Records, and released his album The Survivor. Subsequent releases on Tenacious Records, including re-issues of earlier albums, included On Top of the World, Early Spring, By All Means, Love Fantasy, Back to Jazz, As You Wish, The Night is Still Young, The Sky is the Limit, Distant Lover, Morning Sun, and Absolute Greatest Love Songs and Ballads.

The 1981 album Morning Sun was his most successful album in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines. Most songs in the album, notably the title track, were extensively played on various FM and AM radio stations during that time, and are still being used in advertisements, commercials, social events, and radio news programmes in that country.

Mouzon played on a recording with Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), and Jaco Pastorius (bass), named Trilogue. Originally recorded in 1976, and re-released in 2005, this performance was from November 6, 1976, at the Berlin Jazz Days.

In 2014, Mouzon was invited by producer Gerry Gallagher to record with Latin rock legends El Chicano, as well as David Paich, Brian Auger, Alex Ligertwood, Ray Parker Jr., Lenny Castro, Vikki Carr, Pete Escovedo, Peter Michael Escovedo, Jessy J, Marcos J. Reyes, Siedah Garrett, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Salvador Santana, and Spencer Davis, and is featured on drums on two tracks Make Love and The Viper, that are part of Gallagher's most recent studio album due to be released in 2019.

Health problems and death

On September 7, 2016, Mouzon was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. [1] His son, Jean-Pierre Mouzon, reported his father had died of cardiac arrest at his home in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California, on December 25, 2016 at the age of 68. [1]

Awards and honors


As leader

As sideman

With Arild Andersen

With Donald Byrd

With Doug Carn

With Willie Colon

With Norman Connors

With Larry Coryell

With Betty Davis

With Miles Davis

With Al Di Meola

With Gil Evans

With Roberta Flack

With Fania All-Stars

With Carlos Garnett

With George Gruntz

With Herbie Hancock

With Tim Hardin

With Miki Howard

With Bobbi Humphrey

With Infinity

With Paul Jackson

With Paul Jackson Jr.

With Alphonso Johnson

With John Klemmer

With Joachim Kühn

With Les McCann

With Eugene McDaniels

With Patrick Moraz

With Wayne Shorter

With Jeremy Steig

With McCoy Tyner

With Weather Report

With Torsten de Winkel and Hellmut Hattler

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Chinen, Nate (December 28, 2016). "Alphonse Mouzon, Jazz and Fusion Drummer, Dies at 68". The New York Times . Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  2. Prato, Greg. "Alphonse Mouzon". AllMusic. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  3. "Alphonse Mouzon | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 21, 2017.