Alphonse Mouzon, Noted Jazz Fusion Percussionist And Weather Report Co-Founder, Dies At 68
December 27, 2016 at 12:08 PM (PT)
Jazz fusion drummer ALPHONSE MOUZON died at 68 on CHRISTMAS DAY after being diagnosed with a relatively rare and advanced neuroendocrine carcinoma in SEPTEMBER.
MOUZON’s musical career started when he was in high school in CHARLESTON, SC, where his masterful chops led LONNIE HAMILTON III to hire him to perform with his band. Shortly after graduation, MOUZON relocated to NEW YORK CITY and studied at MANHATTAN MEDICAL SCHOOL while furthering his drum education, taking acting classes, and working as a med tech at COLUMBIA PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL, where he was employed until 1969.
Before being signed to BLUE NOTE RECORDS in the early '70s, MOUZON served as a session drummer on TIM HARDIN’s recording of “Bird On A Wire” and played in the pit band of the NEIL SIMON BROADWAY show, "Promises, Promises" as a 19-year-old, the youngest to do so at the time.
In 1970, MOUZON co-founded seminal jazz fusion combo, WEATHER REPORT, with CZECH bassist MIROSLAV VITOUS, AUSTRIAN-born keyboardist JOE ZAWINUL and AMERICAN soprano sax player WAYNE SHORTER.
On the WEATHER REPORT website, a tribute called him "one of those people who was born to be a drummer. He started banging on things when he was a toddler in CHARLESTON, SC,. His family didn’t have much money, so he made his own drums out of boxes and tin cans. He used to tap dance on the front porch and play his homemade drums, earning pocket change.”
During the course of his illustrious career, MOUZON collaborated with LARRY CORYELL, JACO PASTORIUS, McCOY TYNER, STANLEY CLARKE, AL DiMEOLA, LES McCANN, SONNY ROLLINS and MILES DAVIS. He recorded with STEVIE WONDER, ERIC CLAPTON, JEFF BECK, CARLOS SANTANA and CHUBBY CHECKER, HERBIE HANCOCK, ERNIE WATTS, CHET BAKER, JOHN KLEMMER and GIL EVANS.
He is survived by ex-wife ALLISON MOUZON.