Legendary American jazz drummer Alphonse Mouzon passed away on December 25, 2016 at the age of 68. He died of cardiac arrest while fighting a rare form of cancer known as neuroendocrine carcinoma.
Born on November 21, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina Mouzon first garnered serious accolades with jazz pianist Billy Taylor, and as pit drummer for the Tony, and Grammy award winning Broadway musical, ‘Promises, Promises’.
Alphonse’s career took off in the early 1970s with McCoy Tyner and Gil Evans, and as a charter member of Weather Report. Worldwide notoriety soon followed as co-founder of Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House. From 1973 through 1975 this groundbreaking group epitomized the very essence of Jazz-Fusion. His last recording with the Eleventh House was ‘Seven Secrets’ - released in August of 2016.
As a solo artist, Alphonse Mouzon recorded four albums on the Blue Note label – ‘The Essence of Mystery’ 1972 – ‘Funky Snakefoot’ 1973 – ‘Mind Transplant’ 1974, and ‘The Man Incognito’ 1975.
He also performed, or recorded with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Les McCann, Donald Byrd, Sonny Rollins, Bobbi Humphrey, Freddie Hubbard, Stevie Wonder, and countless other musical legends.
Fluent in a variety of styles, Alphonse was a composer, arranger, producer, and Hollywood actor. In 1992, he founded his Tenacious Records label releasing the top ten album – ‘The Survivor’. He was also the featured jazz drummer with the ‘Blue Spot Trio’ in the bar scene in the 1996 film - ‘That Thing You Do’ directed by Tom Hanks.
In a January, 2016 interview for Not So Modern Drummer, Alphonse Mouzon stated:
“ The RIDE CYMBAL is the heart and the driving force ! You can play an entire song with just the RIDE CYMBAL”. No truer words were ever spoken…
Rest In Peace – Alphonse Mouzon