Alphonse Lee Mouzon (November 21, 1948 – December 25, 2016, aged 68) 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.
Mouzon, of African, French, and Blackfoot indian descent, was born on November 21, 1948, in Charleston, South Carolina. 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. After that Mouzon signed as a solo artist to the Blue Note label in 1972.
Mouzon's visibility increased during his tenure with guitarist Larry Coryell's Eleventh House 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.
Mouzon recorded Mind Transplant in 1974 with guitarist Tommy Bolin, who had previously played on Billy Cobham's Spectrum.
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.
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.
Mouzon played with Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, 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.
On September 7, 2016, Mouzon was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. His son, Jean-Pierre Mouzon, reported that his father had died of cardiac arrest at his home in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California, on December 25, 2016, aged 68.
With Arild Andersen
With Donald Byrd
With Herbie Hancock
With Bobbi Humphrey
With John Klemmer
With Joachim Kühn
With Les McCann
With McCoy Tyner
With Wayne Shorter
With Weather Report
With Eugene McDaniels
With Betty Davis
With MOUZON (rapper aka Alphonse Philippe Mouzon)
With Doug Carn
With Norman Connors
With Willie Colon
With Larry Coryell
With Al Di Meola
With Torsten de Winkel and Hellmut Hattler
With Miles Davis
With Gil Evans
With Roberta Flack
With Fania All-Stars
With Carlos Garnett
With George Gruntz
With Tim Hardin
With Miki Howard
With Paul Jackson
With Paul Jackson Jr.
With Alphonso Johnson
With Patrick Moraz
With Jeremy Steig
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