Alphonse Mouzon

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Alphonse Mouzon
Mouzon in 2009
Background information
Birth name Alphonse Lee Mouzon
Born (1948-11-21)November 21, 1948
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Died December 25, 2016(2016-12-25) (aged 68)
Granada Hills, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, jazz-funk
Occupation(s) Musician, label owner
Instruments Drums
Years active 1970–2016
Labels Blue Note, Tenacious
Associated acts Weather Report, Eleventh House, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner

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


Early life[edit]

Mouzon, of African, French and Blackfoot 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 Broadway show Promises, Promises, 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, including The Essence of Mystery (Blue Note 1972), Funky Snakefoot (Blue Note 1973) and The Man Incognito (Blue Note 1976), including 'Take Your Troubles Away' and in the 1980s By All Means featured Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, 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 & 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 programs 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 2017.

Health problems and death[edit]

On September 7, 2016, Mouzon was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. He died of cardiac arrest on December 25, 2016, at the age of 68.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • The Essence of Mystery (Blue Note, 1973)
  • Funky Snakefoot (Blue Note, 1974)
  • Mind Transplant (Blue Note, 1975)
  • The Man Incognito (Blue Note, 1976)
  • Virtue, 1977
  • Back Together Again, 1977
  • In Search of a Dream, 1978
  • Baby Come Back, 1979
  • By All Means, 1981 and 1993 +
  • I'm Glad That You're Here – 12" single on London Recordings (Pausa/Mouzon Music, 1981)
  • Morning Sun, 1981 and 1996 +
  • Step into the Funk, 1982 and as "Distant Lover" 1996 +
  • The Sky is the Limit, 1985 and 1996 +
  • Back to Jazz, 1985 and 1993 +
  • Eleventh House, 1985
  • Love Fantasy, 1987 +
  • Early Spring, 1988 and 1996 +
  • As You Wish, 1989 and 1995 +
  • The Survivor, 1992 +
  • On Top of the World, 1994 +
  • The Night is Still Young, 1996 +
  • Absolute Greatest Love Songs & Ballads, 1998 +
  • Live in Hollywood, 2001 +
  • Jazz in Bel-Air, 2008 +
  • Angel Face, 2011 +

+ = Tenacious Records

As sideman[edit]

With Arild Andersen

With Donald Byrd

With Herbie Hancock

With Bobbi Humphrey

With John Klemmer

With Joachim Kühn

  • Hip Elegy (1975)

With Les McCann

With McCoy Tyner

With Wayne Shorter

With Weather Report

With Eugene McDaniels

  • Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse (1971)

With Betty Davis

  • Hangin' Out in Hollywood / Crashin' from Passion (1976/1995/1996)

With MOUZON (rapper aka Alphonse Philippe Mouzon)

  • The Main Attraction (2010)

With Infinity

  • Now (1990)

With Doug Carn

  • Spirit of the New Land (1972)

With Norman Connors

  • Dance of Magic (1973)

With Willie Colon

With Poussez

With Larry Coryell

With Al Di Meola

With Torsten de Winkel and Hellmut Hattler

  • Mastertouch (1992)

With Miles Davis

With Gil Evans

With Roberta Flack

With Fania All-Stars

  • Fania All-Stars – Live (1978)

With Carlos Garnett

  • The New Love (1976)

With George Gruntz

  • Palais Anthology (1975)

With Tim Hardin

With Miki Howard

With Paul Jackson

  • Black Octopus (1978)

With Paul Jackson Jr.

  • Never Alone (1996)

With Alphonso Johnson

  • Moonshadows (1976)

With Patrick Moraz


  • Listed in the 2nd edition of Marquis Who's Who in Entertainment and Who's Who in the World.
  • Voted the No. 2 best multi-instrumentalist in the 1995 JAZZIZ Magazine Annual Readers Poll.


External links[edit]