Alphonse Mouzon (Nov. 21, 1948 — Dec. 25, 2016) was an American jazz-rock drummer who started his career with credits on albums by Roy Ayers, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Eugene McDaniels, Bobbi Humphrey, Les McCann, Norman Connors, Doug Carn, and Teruo Nakamura.
In 1971, he co-founded the jazz-funk supergroup Weather Report and played on their self-titled debut album. During 1974/75, he cut two albums with jazz-rockers The Eleventh House: Introducing The Eleventh House With Larry Coryell and Level One.
As a solo artist, Mouzon released four albums on Blue Note between 1973 and 1976: The Essence of Mystery, Funky Snakefoot, Mind Transplant, and The Man Incognito. Jumping to MPS, he issued the 1977/78 titles Virtue and In Search of a Dream. Between 1980 and 1986, he released four albums on Pausa Records.
During the late 1970s, Mouzon collaborated on albums by Joachim Kühn (Hip Elegy), Larry Coryell (Back Together Again), Robin Kenyatta (Dream Bug), and Trilogue with Albert Mangelsdorff and Jaco Pastorius (Live at the Berlin Jazz Days).
He was born Alphonse Lee Mouzon on November 21, 1948, in Charleston, S.C., to parents of African, French, and Blackfoot descent. After graduating Bonds-Wilson High School, he studied drama and music at the City College of New York, as well as medicine at Manhattan Medical School. He took drum lessons from Bobby Thomas, the drummer for jazz pianist Billy Taylor.
In 1968, Mouzon played percussion in the Broadway musical comedy Promises, Promises. He notched one of his earliest recording credits on the 1970 Polydor release Ubiquity by vibist Roy Ayers. That same year, he appeared on a self-titled Apex Records album by bandleader Gil Evans.
During 1971, Mouzon played on the albums Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse by soulster Eugene McDaniels and Bird on a Wire by singer-songwriter Tim Hardin. He also got a compositional credit (“Climax”) on the album Mongo at Montreux by Afro-Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria.
His most high-profile early gig was Weather Report, a jazz-funk supergroup formed by veteran saxophonist Wayne Shorter and Austrian keyboardist Joe Zawinul, both recent backing players of Miles Davis. Mouzon played on Shorter’s 1971 Blue Note release Odyssey of Iska, recorded in August of 1970. As a member of Weather Report, Mouzon played on their 1971 self-titled album.
In 1972, Mouzon played on albums by Bobbi Humphrey (Dig This!), Les McCann (Invitation to Openness), Norman Connors (Dance of Magic), Doug Carn (Spirit of The New Land), and McCoy Tyner (Sahara). Once again, Santamaria covered a Mouzon composition, “Virtue,” included on his 1972 Atlantic release Up From the Roots. That December, Mouzon cut his first solo album.
- The Essence of Mystery (1973)
- Funky Snakefoot (1974)
- Mind Transplant (1975)
- The Man Incognito (1976)
- Back Together Again (1977 • Coryell / Mouzon)
- Virtue (1977)
- Trilogue – Live! (1977 • Trilogue)
- In Search of a Dream (1978)
- By All Means (1981)
- Morning Sun (1981)
- Step Into the Funk (1982)
- Distant Lover (1984)
- Back to Jazz (1985)
- The 11th House (1985 • Alphonse Mouzon & Larry Coryell)
- The Sky Is the Limit (1985)
- Love Fantasy (1987)
- Early Spring (1988)
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