The Mizell Brothers were a record producing team in the 1970s, consisting of Larry Mizell (February 17, 1944, New York City, New York) and Alphonso "Fonce" Mizell (January 15, 1943, New York City, New York - July 5, 2011, Los Angeles, California).
Larry earned a degree in engineering and Fonce Mizell earned a degree in music from Howard University. While there they formed and performed in a jazz vocal quartet, the Vanlords. In the early 1970s, Larry and Fonce Mizell moved to California to start their own company, Sky High Productions. They went on to produce albums for Blue Note Records that set the tone for jazz fusion and the era. The Mizell Brothers often used the same musicians on their albums, including Harvey Mason on drums, Melvin "Wah Wah Watson" Ragin and David T. Walker on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass and Jerry Peters on piano. Freddie Perren and Chuck Davis were sometimes involved as co-writers or co-producers.
Later hits of Sky High Productions include A Taste of Honey's platinum-selling roller-rink anthem of 1978 "Boogie Oogie Oogie", L.T.D.'s "Love Ballad", a number 1 R&B hit (#20 pop) in 1976 and Mary Wells' dance funk 12-inch "Gigolo" in 1982. Younger brother Rodney Mizell co-wrote some of their songs, although most material initially was written by Larry Mizell, later joined by Fonce. They also included a number of Motown hits on Donald Byrd's albums including Just My Imagination and Dancing in the Street. In the 1980s, the Mizell brothers retired from the record industry, but returned in the 2000s. Larry Mizell wrote and performed vocals on the song "Play with the Changes" on the 4Hero album of the same name in 2007.
As an electrical engineer, Larry Mizell performed testing and reliability work on the Lunar Module for the NASA Apollo program. He was one of the first to do research on liquid crystals, which today are used for example in displays (LCD).
Alphonso Mizell was a member of The Corporation, the Motown hit-making production team that wrote and produced all of The Jackson 5's essential early hits from 1969 through 1971, including "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," "Mama's Pearl," and "Maybe Tomorrow." The Corporation also consisted of Motown founder Berry Gordy plus writer-producers Deke Richards, who brought Fonce to the company, and Freddie Perren, a classmate of the Mizells at Howard who also later worked for Sky High Productions.
When Motown moved to Los Angeles, the Mizells joined up with trumpet player Donald Byrd under whom they had studied while at Howard University. Their first album, Black Byrd on the Blue Note label, was the first of a string of albums together that would define jazz-funk and lay the foundation for acid jazz and neo soul. Alphonso died of heart failure on July 5, 2011 at age 68.
|1972||Donald Byrd||Black Byrd||Blue Note Records||Entire Album|
|1973||Donald Byrd||Street Lady||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|Bobbi Humphrey||Blacks and Blues||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|The Miracles||Renaissance||Motown Records||Wigs And Lashes & Don't Let It End ('Til You Let It Begin) (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|The Jackson 5||Skywriter||Motown||Hallelujah Day & Ooh, I'd Love To Be With You (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|Michael Jackson||Music & Me||Motown||With A Child's Heart & Up Again (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|Jermaine Jackson||Come Into My Life||Motown||You're In Good Hands (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|Elaine Brown||Elaine Brown||Black Forum||Entire Album (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|1974||Donald Byrd||Stepping into Tomorrow||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|Bobbi Humphrey||Satin Doll||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|The Blackbyrds||The Blackbyrds||Fantasy Records||Entire Album|
|Johnny Hammond||Gambler's Life||Salvation Records||Entire Album|
|Edwin Starr||Hell Up in Harlem||Motown||Entire Album (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|Brenda Lee Eager||"When I'm With You"||Mercury Records||When I'm With You (7" Single)|
|Margie Evans||"Waterfalls"||Buddah Records||Waterfalls (7" Single)|
|1975||Donald Byrd||Places and Spaces||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|Bobbi Humphrey||Fancy Dancer||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|Johnny Hammond||Gears||Milestone Records||Entire Album|
|Gary Bartz||The Shadow Do||Prestige Records||Entire Album|
|Michael Jackson||Forever, Michael||Motown||I'll Come Home To You (Co-Produced with Freddie Perren)|
|1976||Donald Byrd||Caricatures||Blue Note||Entire Album|
|L.T.D.||Love To The World||A&M Records||Entire Album|
|Roger Glenn||Reachin'||Fantasy||Entire Album|
|1977||Gary Bartz||Music Is My Sanctuary||Capitol Records||Entire Album|
|The Rance Allen Group||Say My Friend||Capitol||Entire Album|
|1978||A Taste of Honey||A Taste Of Honey||Capitol||Entire Album|
|1979||A Taste of Honey||Another Taste||Capitol||Entire Album|
|1981||Mary Wells||In And Out Of Love||Epic Records||Gigolo|