Monday, January 2, 2017

Carlos Garnett - 1978 - The New Love

Carlos Garnett 
The New Love

01. Lil Dear 5:02
02. Bolerock 4:13
03. The New Love 8:55
04. Uncle Ben & Aunt Jemima 5:16
05. Dance Of The Virgins 4:07
06. Memories Of Coltrane 9:22

Bongos, Percussion – Guilherme Franco, Timana
Drums – Alphonse Mouzon
Guitar, Vocals – Otis McClary
Keyboards – Joe Bonner
Bass – John Lee
Trumpet – Terumasa Hino

Recorded May, 1977 at Dimensional Sound Studio, NYC

‘New Love’ from 1978 was the fifth and last album that Carlos Garnett recorded for the Muse label in the 70’s. Featuring heavyweight musicians like Alphonse Mouzon, Terumasu Hino and Joe Bonner, It includes the Jazz-Funk Dance classic ‘Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima’ a highly rhythmic track with a wicked bassline a sure fire dancefloor filler. ‘Memories of Coltrane’ is a tribute to the master which starts off with some solos, moves into a spiritual chant and then developes into a corker of dancefloor Jazz shifter with a really heavy percussive driving groove topped with blazing horns reminiscent of a Pharoah Sanders track, and includes a great drum solo from Mouzon.

Carlos Garnett - 1976 - Cosmos Nucleus

Carlos Garnett 
Cosmos Nucleus

01. Saxy 5:19
02. Cosmos Nucleus 12:18
03. Wise Old Man 5:10
04. Mystery Of Ages 7:07
05. Kafira 7:24
06. Bed-Stuy Blues 8:12

Alto Saxophone – Al Brown, Charles Dougherty, Robert Wright
Baritone Saxophone, Ukulele – Carlos Chambers
Bass – Cecil McBee, Jr.
Bongos, Percussion – Gene Ballard
Congas, Percussion – Neil Clarke
Drums – Byron Benbow
Electric Piano – Kenny Kirkland
Guitar – Otis McCleary
Tenor Saxophone – Akum Ra Amen-Ra, Randy Gilmore, Yah Ya, Zane Massey
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Ukulele, Vocals, Producer – Carlos Garnett
Trombone – Andrew Washington, Cliff Anderson, James Stowe
Trumpet – Abdul Malik, Angel Fernandez, Cyril Greene, Preston Holas, Quentin Lowther, Roy Campbell, Wayne Cobham
Vocals – Cheryl P. Alexander

For his fourth Muse album from 1976, Carlos leads a 25 Piece Big Band ‘Cosmos Nucleus’ making the sound on this album quite different from his other recordings. ‘Saxy’ is about as Funky as a Big Band can be. The Title cut is a 12 minute opus allowing the Band to develop the track as it flows through
different sections. ‘Wise Old man’ is a lively highly rhythmic song on which Carlos sings words of wisdom. The killer cut is ‘Mystery of Ages’ an incredible vocal cut with a mystical feel that has become an underground club anthem for thr past 20 years. Great music.

Carlos Garnett - 1975 - Let This Melody Ring On

Carlos Garnett 
Let This Melody Ring On

01. Good Sheperd 4:30
02. Panama Roots 9:30
03. Ghetto Jungle 5:20
04. Senior Trane 7:35
05. Samba Serendade 6:33
06. Let This Melody Ring On 6:44

Bass – James (Fish) Benjamin (tracks: A1, B1)
Drums – Howard King
Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass [Contra Bass] – Anthony Jackson
Guitar – Reggie Lucas
Keyboards – Hubert Eaves
Percussion – Neil Clarke
Strings – Charles Dalton, Diedre Murray, Howard Hall (6), Joe Singer, John Blake, Richard Locker
Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Ukulele, Vocals – Carlos Garnett
Trombone, Euphonium – Kiane Zawadi
Trumpet – Olu Dara
Ukulele – Carlos Chambers (tracks: A3), Carlos Jordan (tracks: A3)
Vocals – Prema

Carlos Garnett’s third album for Muse ‘Let This melody Ring on’ was recorded in 1975 and has a funkier edge than the first two. ‘The Good Shepherd’ is probably the best known track on the album a funky Jazz dance instrumental groove. ‘Senor Trane’ is a lovely modal jazz workout paying homage to the maestro saxophonist. ‘Panama Roots’ is an interesting near 10 minute musical journey to Carlos homeland. Prema sings on the swinging Jazz dancer ‘Samba Seranade’ which really cooks which also features a great keyboard solo from Hubert Eaves. ‘Ghetto Jungle and ‘Let This Melody Ring on’ are funkier string laden vocal tracks that complete this excellent Funky Jazz album.

Carlos Garnett - 1974 - Journey to Enlightenment

Carlos Garnett 
Journey to Enlightenment

01. Journey To Enlightenment 10:55
02. Love Flower 7:22
03. Chana 6:17
04. Caribbean Sun 6:18
05. Let Us Go (To Higher Heights) 6:15

Carlos Garnett - Ukulele, Vocals, Reeds (Multiple)
Charles Pulliam - Conga
Hubert Eaves III - Keyboards
Reggie Lucas - Guitar
Neil Clark - Percussion
Anthony Jackson - Bass
Ayodele Jenkins - Vocals
Howard King - Drums

Recorded at Minot Sound Studios, 9.20.1974

Saxophonist Carlos Garnett’s second album was recorded from the Muse label in 1974. ‘Journey To Enlightenment’ is a strong 10 min long Spiritual Jazz track, that begins with Chant like vocals and then progresses into an instrumental piece featuring a blistering Sax Solo from Carlos, and lovely melodic keyboard solo from Hubert Eaves, before returning to the vocal chants again towards the end. ‘Love Flower’ a very funky Spiritual Jazz song featuring Ayodele Jenkins mesmerising powerful vocals. ‘Chana’ is the album’s best known track, a highly rhythmic bustling instrumental Jazz Dancer, which has been a popular floor filler on the UK Jazz Scene for many years.

Heady title notwithstanding, this is a beautiful record of spiritual jazz from the underground New York label Muse, from 1974 (more on Muse Records later).  Carlos Garnett was a saxophonist, formerly of Miles Davis’ band, who had heavy leanings towards the post-Coltrane avant-garde, “energy” style of jazz.  He recorded this album a year after his more-famous breakthrough, “Black Love,” also on Muse Records, and it shows the same blending of world musics and themes with soaring, bitingly spiritual solos over Afro-centric and sometimes-funky grooves.  The cover is fantastic, with a painting of Garnett walking with his saxophone through a jungle paradise, approaching a Pyramid as a Pterodactyl wings by.  Truly unique.

Carlos Garnett - 1974 - Black Love

Carlos Garnett
Black Love

01. Black Love 5:31
02. Ebonesque 8:22
03. Banks Of The Nile 4:15
04. Mother Of The Future 7:40
05. Taurus Woman 12:37

Carlos Garnett: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, composer, arranger, producer, vocals
Charles Sullivan: trumpet
Mauricio Smith: flute
Onaje Allan Gumbs: piano
Jabali-Billy Hart: drums
Reggie Lucas: electric guitar
Alex Blake: bass
Buster Williams: bass
Norman Connors: drums
Mtume: congas
Guilherme Franco: percussion
Ayodele Jenkins: backing vocals, lead vocals
Dee Dee Bridgewater: lead vocals, backing vocals
Carlos Chambers: yodeling

Garnett was born on December 1, 1938, in Red Tank, Panama Canal Zone.He became interested in jazz after hearing the music of Louis Jordan and James Moody in film shorts.He taught himself to play saxophone as a teenager and played with soldiers from the nearby United States Army base.[5] In 1957 he started playing in calypso and Latin music groups.

After moving to New York in 1962, he played in a rock 'n' roll group led by Leo Price. Around this time he also started learning music theory, being self-taught and having always played by ear. Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard hired him in 1968 and introduced him to many New York musicians. Garnett's first recording was Hubbard's 1969 album A Soul Experiment, which contained two original compositions by him.

In the late 1960s and early 1970 Garnett also played with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis.He led his own group called the Universal Black Force. His group recorded five albums between 1974 and 1977.n 1982, Garnett, suffering from depression and drug abuse, experienced a spiritual awakening and stopped playing music for years.He began performing again in 1991 and released the albums Fuego en mi alma (1996), Under Nubian Skies (1999) and Moon Shadow (2001). In 2000 he moved back to Panama.

An album very similar in style and nature to Archie Shepp's Attica Blues but even more potent and impressive.The album has some impressive players namely Norman Conners,Mtume,Buster Williams and a young Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals.The sax playing of Garnett is hard and aggressive and there are echoes of Shepp and Sanders.The vocal cuts are amazing and Dee Dee Bridgewater really excels on the fantastic Banks Of The Nile.This is true life affirming music.

Like Mtume’s Rebirth Cycle and Alkebu-Lan, this is kind of a historic and educational document that explores the African roots of the musicians involved. After the tragic death of Malcolm X in ’65 more and more black American musicians explored the African history of their music and expressed this with a period of amazingly rich and deep soul-searching jazz and funk albums. Like Oneness Of Juju’s African Rhythms Carlos Garnet has used heavier funk elements to this album, so this isn’t really a jazz album as such, there’s a real psychedelic space groove running through some of the tunes, whilst others have amazing vocals with the vocalists bouncing off each other perfectly that gives a real layers of sound feel to the song. Carlos Garnett’s sax playing is wonderfully aggressive, but never crosses that line of avant-garde, like Pharoah Sanders he always stays within the boundaries of the tune. As has already been pointed out, this is real life affirming stuff, and certainly an album I’ll be revisiting.

Trilogue - 1977 - Live At The Berlin Jazz Days

Live At The Berlin Jazz Days

01. Trilogue 6:13
02. Zores Mores 8:12
03. Foreign Fun 7:31
04. Accidental Meeting 8:50
05. Ant Step On An Elephant Toe 9:35

Bass – Jaco Pastorius
Drums – Alphonse Mouzon
Trombone – Albert Mangelsdorff

Recorded live at the Berlin Jazz Days, 6 November 1976 at the Berlin Philharmonic
Jaco Pastorius Appears By Kind Permission Of Epic Records

Jaco was barely 25 years old when he turned up in this ad-hoc trio with former Weather Report sideman Alphonse Mouzon and German trombone phenomenon Albert Mangellsdorf, who is the real star of the performance. By manipulating his lips to vibrate at different speeds, trilling with his tongue and singing, he could make as many as six notes at the same time -- all without electronics. The tones he produced were strange, but they formed real chords. Mouzon played an unnecessarily huge drum kit, and occasionally lost his aim. Holding it all together was Jaco, appearing in Berlin as part of Weather Report, but agreeing to participate in this unusual group. Interestingly, you can hear many of Jaco's stock phrases in this recording, including bits of songs he would not record until Word of Mouth, six years later. Even though this band lasted only one performance, the pieces were studied and rehearsed. Jaco and Mouzon clearly know the song structures and melodies, and play well around them. The best moments come when Mangellsdorf solos over the rhythm section. He has a great soulful feel and reveals his muscularity in playing his ungainly instrument. Ant Steps gets a lot of attention for its nutty little hooks, but all the songs have something interesting to offer. This is a rare glimpse into the pre-1978 Jaco, when he was still very much an undiscovered wunderkind with an enormous bag of tricks. Above all, it took a lot of guts to take this gig, because it's so unconventional. You'll need a lot of patience, but after about five listenings, it will pay off, and you'll be humming the tunes while you walk, drive or shower.
This is a true masterpiece!

Joachim Kuhn - 1976 - Hip Elegy

Joachim Kuhn 
Hip Elegy

01 Seven Sacred Pools
02 Travelling Love
03 Bed Stories
04 Hip Elegy in Kingsize
05 Santa Cruz
06 First Frisco

Bass – John Lee
Drums – Alphonse Mouzon
Guitar – Philip Catherine
Percussion – Naná Vasconcelos
Piano – Joachim Kühn
Producer – Joachim Ernst Berendt
Trumpet – Terumasa Hino

Recorded at Ton Studio Bauer, Ludwigsburg, Germany on Nov. 2-4, 1975.

This group was assembled on the occasion of the jubilee concerts celebrating Joachim-E. Berendts 5000th radio program on Südwestfunk, Germany.

Please, if possible, listen loud (your neighbour will be grateful)

Although not a free jazz musician, per se, Kuhn has been an avant-gardist; he began attempting a fusion of contemporary classical elements with jazz very early in his career. Kuhn's intense virtuosity is a reflection of his training. He studied classical composition and piano for 12 years, beginning when he was a small child. He performed as a classical pianist up until 1961, at which point he began playing in a Prague-based jazz quintet. He led a trio from 1962-1966, and in 1964 began playing with his much-older brother Rolf Kuhn, an accomplished clarinetist. In the '70s, Joachim Kuhn led his own groups, and played with the violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Kuhn had a measure of commercial success in the '70s. His star faded a bit in the '80s, but Kuhn kept active, playing challenging forms of jazz and recording occasionally. A 1997 release, Colors: Live From Leipzig, a duo with Ornette Coleman, helped fuel new interest in Kuhn; both men were in top form and the album received excellent reviews.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1982 - Step Into The Funk / Distant Lover

Alphonse Mouzon 
Step Into The Funk / Distant Lover

01. I Don't Want To Lose This Feeling 6:37
02. When We Were Young 5:18
03. Saving My Love For You 4:26
04. The Lady In Red 3:35
05. Get Up And Dance 5:01
06. That's Right 5:45
07. Everybody Party 6:04
08. Step Into The Funk

Electric Bass – Nathan East
Electric Guitar – Paul Jackson, Jr.
Flugelhorn – Jerry Hey
Tenor Saxophone – Douglas Ledesma
Trombone – Glen Ferris
Trumpet – Kim Joey Ko
Electric Bass – Stanley Clarke
Flute – Larry Williams
Soloist, Tenor Saxophone – Tom Scott
Electric Bass – Scott Edwards
Electric Guitar – Lee Ritenour
Flute – Kim Hutchcroft
Soloist, Tenor Saxophone – Michael Brecker
Synthesizer – Herbie Hancock

Released in the US as Distant Lover and in Germany as Step Into The Funk

It's Mouzon... so you know what you are getting, It's funky, it's soulfull, it's tight and he has a star studded lineup... so, get up and boogie!

Alphonse Mouzon - 1981 - By All Means

Alphonse Mouzon 
By All Means

01. Do I Have To? (8:56)
02. Space Invaders (4:10)
03. The Next Time We Love (6:59)
04. The Jogger (7:58)
05. By All Means (13:29)

- Scott Edwards / bass
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums, percussion
- Paul Jackson, Jr. / guitar
- Freddie Hubbard / flugelhorn
- Jerry Hey / flugelhorn
- Lee Ritenour / guitar
- Larry Tim / oboe
- Herbie Hancock / piano
- Kim Hutchcroft / alto saxophone
- larry Williams / tenor saxophone

It was great on vinyl, but, now with the digital age it is even better. If you are an avid Jazz fan or a novice or even somewhere in between, this album is worth the purchase price. Each track delivers on foot stomping, toe-tapping music. The fiest track, Do I have to is mellow and opens the door for you. By the time you get to the title track, By all Means, you are well immersed in funk. With musicians such as the fabulous Herbie Hancock (keyboards), The Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft), Freddie Hubbard & others they brought their A-game to the session. You cannot go wrong. Each person that I have told about this album enjoys it very much. If you missed it before, here is your chance to get it, hear it, and enjoy it.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1979 - Baby Come Back

Alphonse Mouzon 
Baby Come Back

01. All My Loving
02. Everybody Get Down
03. I Want To Hold Your Hand
04. I Still Love You
05. Disco Jungle
06. Baby Come Back
07. Before I Met You
08. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again
09. Funk Transplant
10. Manic Depression

Bob Malach (Saxophone Tenor)
Rex Robinson (Bass)
Robert Etoll (Guitar)
Alphonse Mouzon (Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizer)

It seems I used to hear this song all over the place and it got stuck in my brain. Friends played it at work, I’d hear it at afterhours, and on tons of DJ sets and podcasts. Where it came from, I don’t know, I’m just happy it’s popular enough to make its way back into the world today. The song was featured on James Murphy & Pat Mahoney’s Fabriclive compilation in 2007 but it was only in the last few years that I heard it being played so frequently.

Everybody Get Down is ultra smooth, with a Disco swing, hand clapping, money saxophones, synth and burning electric guitars that remind me of Hot Chocolate. It’s a recipe for all my guilty pleasures and the vocals have a certain dirty old man quality that you can only get away with in Disco Funk songs. It’s a sweet two-stepping wonder that I love hearing and dancing to.

Originally released in 1979 on a label called Metronome, the band was made up of four members: Alphonse Mouzon, Bob Malach, Rex Robinson, and Robert Etoll. Mr. Mouzon is the brains the behind the band, hence the name of the group, and is one inexhaustible Jazz-Fusion musician and producer. He wrote, produced, conducted, and arranged the whole album and is the lead vocalist, the drummer, percussionist, pianist and synth player. Baby Come Back was the only album they released as Mouzon’s Electric Band and from there he went on to create his own label called Tenacious Records.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1978 - In Search Of A Dream

Alphonse Mouzon 
In Search Of A Dream

01. Nightmare (6:07)
02. Electric Moon (4:50)
03. Shoreline (4:30)
04. The Light (3:21)
05. The Unknown Journey (4:00)
06. The Ram And The Scorpio (5:53)
07. In Search Of A Dream (4:51)
08. Playing Between The Beat (2:34)
09. Nothing But A Party (Incl. Happy Birthday) (3:58)

- Miroslav Vitous / bass
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums
- Philip Catherine / guitar
- Bob Malik / tenor saxophone

Recorded November 20-24, 1977 Zuckerfabrik Stuttgart, Germany

This is an obscure Alphonse Mouzon recording, which, along with Mind Transplant, accounts for Mouzon's best work as a solo artist. The presence of former Weather Report band mate Miroslav Vituous provides for much of the session's excitement ("The Light" being a standout). Fusion vets Philip Catherine, Stu Goldberg, and Joachim Kuhn also turn in fine performances, as does the relatively unknown Bob Malik. There is a great deal of integrity on this session, a quality that was often missing from Mouzon sessions both before and after this. Highly recommended.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1977 - Back Together Again

Larry Coryell / Alphonse Mouzon
Back Together Again

01. Beneath the Earth
02. The Phonse  
03. Transvested Express  
04. Crystallization  
05. Rock 'N' Roll Lovers
06. Get on Up (We Gonna Boogie)
07. Reconciliation
08. Back Together Again
09. Mr. C.    
10. High Love

Larry Coryell - Synthesizer, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Alphonse Mouzon - Percussion, Drums, Vocals
John Lee - Bass, Vocals
Philip Catherine - Guitar
Tawatha Agee - Vocals
Cheryl Alexander - Vocals

This 1977 album presents a good collection of tight, short jazz rock instrumentals that feature the staggering virtuosity of guitarist Larry Coryell and blazing drummer Alphonse Mouzon.

Given the lack of a keyboardist, Back Together Again is a showcase for the guitarists and the drummer, with John McLaughlin-like shredding on the electric (the semblance to his style is uncanny) dueling with ferocious fills and double-bass drum attacks by Alphonse played at a breakneck tempo. Alphonse really is a remarkable drummer and I would place him in the same class as other jazz rock virtuosos like Billy Cobham. Additional guitarist Philip Catherine is quite good, adds a lot of color to each track, and provides some nice interplay with Larry on a few tunes. The focus however, is pretty much on Larry. Last, but certainly not least, bassist John Lee holds it all down with an unassuming style - very much like Rick Laird (Mahavishnu Orchestra).

The tunes are very short (2-6 minute range) and say precisely what they need to say in that time - that is, ferocious soling over an ostinato (usually played in unison with the guitar/bass). While this is not particularly interesting from a composition or arrangement perspective, this album really is all about the playing and Back Together Again certainly delivers in that respect. Admittedly however, the guys do break things up here and there with some quieter passages and other styles including funk.

Although jazz rock (with an emphasis on rock) is the main style, there are some quieter moments that feature acoustic guitars, and there is a bit of funk, with the title track being a good example of this. Although this album is 99% instrumental, vocals by Alphonse do turn up on the title track and there is also one other instance where he "sing-shouts". Fortunately, both examples are merely blips on the screen and do not detract from the listening experience.

After going their separate ways upon the breakup of the Eleventh House, guitarist Larry Coryell, and drummer Alphonse Mouzon teamed up again for what turned out to be a disappointing reunion. This despite the added presence of guitarist Philip Catherine. The same high energy fusion that made each player so popular is on display here, but so is Mouzon's infatuation with disco. "Beneath the Earth," "Transvested Express," and "High Love" contain some impressive playing, but the disco/funk of "Get on Up (We Gonna Boogie)" and "Back Together Again" make for a dated and uneven recording.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1976 - Virtue

Alphonse Mouzon

01. Master Funk 3:40
02. Baker's Daughter 5:34
03. Come Into My Life 5:10
04. Nyctophobia 7:00
05. Virtue 8:23
06. Poobli 5:30
07. The Mouzon Drum Suite 8:33
08. Jazz-Rock-Improvisation 2:23
09. Out Of The Desert 1:45
10. Colors Of Africa 2:39
11. Total Swing 1:44

Alto Saxophone – Gary Bartz (tracks: A1, B1)
Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards, Composed By – Alphonse Mouzon
Electric Bass – Welton Gite
Keyboards, Soloist [Mini Moog] – Stu Goldberg
Soprano Saxophone – Gary Bartz (tracks: A2 to A4, B2, B3)

Alphonse Mouzon's Virtue, an eclectic 1977 fusion date that may have coasted towards nascent smooth jazz territory but highlights the significant difference between what that term meant then and now.

With a chorus singing "Master Funk" over the funky opening track of the same name, and Mouzon's get-down clavinet playing (he adds a wealth of keyboards in addition to those played by Stu Goldberg) over a disco-fied beat, it's hard not to think of this as the dangerous territory towards which originally hard-edged fusion was evolving. But with Gary Bartz's sax bringing some lean, bopish lines to Mouzon's booty-shaking beat, it's at least possible to ratchet down the groan factor a notch.

Phase-shifted Fender Rhodes and soprano sax on the rubato intro to "Baker's Daughter" reference early Weather Report, a reminder that Mouzon was the legendary supergroup's first drummer. But the intro merely sets up a fiery samba that, with Mouzon's wordless falsetto vocal, recalls Light as a Feather-era Return to Forever, as Mouzon, bassist Welton Gite, and Goldberg bolster a searing solo from Bartz that's followed by an even more blistering modal piano solo from Goldberg. Goldberg's playing throughout makes it a real shame that he never found the widespread acclaim he so clearly deserved.

While "Master Funk" and the grooving ballad "Come Into My Life" approach the contemporary jazz style that would ultimately lead to today's smooth jazz, it's important to acknowledge the difference. This was not pre-programmed chill-out music, and while it took advantage of the studio to create richer layers, this was still music played live by real players. Compared to some of Herbie Hancock's post-Headhunters excursions into disco at that time, Virtue remains an honest album that may have been looking for an audience, but doesn't abjectly pander. "Nyctophobia"—first heard on Level One (Arista, 1974) by guitarist Larry Coryell's group Eleventh House (also featuring Mouzon)—proves that Mouzon was still capable of virtuosic intensity, with relentless solos by Bartz and Goldberg pushed forward by Mouzon's take-no-prisoners approach and Gite's equally potent support, all of which continue on the equally unyielding title track.

"Poobli" returns to the funkier, Headhunters territory that Hancock had since deserted, featuring a Minimoog solo from Goldberg that, again, makes his relative footnote status a shame, but it's the album closer, the four-part "The Mouzon Drum Suite" that ensures Virtue's eclectic status. Ranging from the full-out assault of "Jazz-Rock Improvisation," to the groove-centric "Out of the Desert," the Afro-flavored "Colors of Africa," featuring Mouzon on hand percussion and mbira, to the closing "Total Swing" that brings the suite full-circle, it's an eight-minute history lesson in percussion and rhythm—all performed by Mouzon.

Mouzon has since moved more directly into smooth jazz territory, but Virtue remains a reminder that he was still capable of uncompromising, high energy fusion and kick-ass grooves, with a group of players equally up to the challenge.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1976 - The Man Incognito

Alphonse Mouzon 
The Man Incognito

01. Take Your Troubles Away (5:03)
02. Snake Walk (3:49)
03. Before You Leave (4:26)
04. Just Like The Sun (6:30)
05. You Are My Dream (3:30)
06. New York City (4:06)
07. Without A Reason (4:09)
08. Mouzon Moves On (3:41)
09. Behind Your Mind (4:06)

- Lee Ritenour / guitars
- Alphonse Mouzon / drums
- Charles Meeks / bass
- Dave Grusin / clavinet, piano
- Victor feldman / percussion
- Tim DeHuff / guitars
- David Benoit / piano
- G.D. (Dawilla Gonga) / synthesizers
- Ian Underwood / synthesizers
- Tom Scott / saxophones. lyricon
- George Bohanon / trombone
- Gary Grant / trumpet

Drummer Alphonse Mouzon has always wavered back and forth between hard-driving jazz/rock fusion and disco/funk. This recording certainly falls into latter category with very little here for fans of his blazing chops. It's hard not to imagine strobe lights and a glitter ball when listening to tunes such as "Snake Walk" or "You Are My Dream." Most of the arrangements here are repetitive and were obviously meant to be used as dance music. Fusion fans are encouraged to steer clear of this one, as it amounts to nothing more than a '70s disco session.

Alphonse Mouzon - 1974 - Mind Transplant

Alphonse Mouzon 
Mind Transplant

01. Mind Transplant (4:05)
02. Snow Bound (3:05)
03. Carbon Dioxide (4:38)
04. Ascorbic Acid (3:26)
05. Happiness Is Loving You (4:09)
06. Some of the Things People Do (3:40)
07. Golden Rainbows (6:56)
08. Nitroglycerin (3:03)

Alphonse Mouzon / drums, vocals, ARP 2600 synthesizer, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Farfisa organ
Jerry Peters / Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B3 organ
Jay Graydon / Guitar, ARP 2600 synthesizer programming
Tommy Bolin / Guitar
Lee Ritenour / Guitar
Henry Davis / Bass

Recorded at Wally Heider Sound Studio III in Los Angeles, California on December 4 (tracks 2, 5 & 7), December 5 (track 6), December 6 (tracks 3 & 8) and December 9 & 10 (tracks 1 & 3), 1974

Alphonse Mouzon was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1948. He began playing drums as a child in a local society orchestra, and went on to play with some of the biggest names in jazz, such as Gil Evans, George Benson and McCoy Tyner. He was also the first drummer in the outstanding Weather Report. In 1974 he decided to do an album that would feature rock and funk grooves rather than complicated jazz structures, and decided for Tommy to be part of the guitar solution without an audition.

Mouzon first became aware of Tommy from his playing on Billy Cobham’s Spectrum album. Tommy had also sat in with Mouzon and guitarist Larry Coryell at a club in Boulder in late 1974. Coryell and Mouzon would go on to produce a number of albums with their group Eleventh House.

On October 6, 1974 Mouzon booked rehearsal time at Glen Holly Studio in Los Angeles, and convened there with Tommy on guitar, Rocke Grace on keyboards and Stanley Sheldon on bass. They recorded the material but it was all wiped except for one tape that Tommy took with him. That material contained “The Real Thing,” which was released as a bonus track on the 1993 CD release of Mind Transplant on RPM, and along with rest of the surviving material on the Tommy Bolin Archives release Tommy Bolin & Alphonse Mouzon: Fusion Jam CD.

At the time of the rehearsal Tommy and Stanley were both still living in Colorado. Tommy had left the James Gang in August, and along with Stanley tried to form a band in Colorado that included Mike Finnigan on keyboards and vocals. When that failed in a matter of three weeks they began commuting back and forth to LA looking for opportunties, which included playing together on sessions for an album by Dr. John. They would not permanently relocate permanently to LA until December.

The sessions for Mind Transplant were recorded at the Wally Heider Recording Studio “3” in Hollywood on December 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10, 1974. Keyboards and bass were handled by Jerry Peters and Henry Davis. Jay Graydon and Lee Ritenour were also scheduled for guitar parts. Graydon was a noted studio musician who played on countless hits by groups including Steely Dan. Ritenour was also a young lion in the session community, but was rapidly developing into a solo artist.

Mouzon had all three guitarists together in the studio at the same time, rather than splitting up sessions. The guitar parts for Graydon and Ritenour were written out. Tommy did not read music, so Mouzon counted on him to come up with appropriate parts himself. Tommy only had to hear the melody played once or twice, and he would have the it memorized.

Mouzon wrote all the material on the original release, and the result was a mix of rock, funk and jazz that had tremendous appeal among rock listeners. The playing is superhuman, but there are plenty of hooks and booty-shaking grooves. The album is sometimes compared to Spectrum, but it stands on it’s own as an irresistible listen. Graydon and Ritenour are superb, as is the whole band, but the mix of Tommy’s advanced rock chops with Mouzon’s unbelievable thrust and precision was the highlight for many.

Whereas on Spectrum Tommy shared time on leads with Jan Hammer’s keyboards, on Mind Transplant he was pushed right up front on the tunes which featured him as the soloist. Many of Tommy’s fans are drawn to particular parts of his history for tone and style, and the period around the James Gang and Mind Transplant contains some of his most beloved tone and phrasing. Performances ranging from the incendiary leads on “Nitroglycerin” to the beautiful melody and drama of “Golden Rainbows” show Tommy crafting auditory gems.

Mind Transplant was released on Blue Note in March, 1975. It was released on CD for the first time by RPM in 1993 with the addition of “The Real Thing,” a segment of the October 6 rehearsal.

In 1999 the Tommy Bolin Archives released a CD with remastered material from the October 6 rehearsal. In our reviews section Jim Sheridan wrote about Tommy Bolin & Alphonse Mouzon: Fusion Jam. “A carefree musical fling. Tommy and powerhouse drummer Mouzon warm up for the recording of Alphonse’s 1975 album Mind Transplant by blazing through some early drafts of “Homeward Strut,” some slow blues, the swing of “No More Crying,” as well as what would grow to be Deep Purple’s “Love Child.” The highlight is “The Real Thing,” sonically upgraded, a candid photo of Tommy at his improvisational best.

Alphonze Mouzon - 1974 - Funky Snakefoot

Alphonze Mouzon 
Funky Snakefoot

01. I've Given You My Love (4:48)
02. You Don't Know How Much I Love You (4:45)
03. I Gotta Have You (2:51)
04. My Life Is So Blue (4:40)
05. Funky Snakefoot (3:46)
06. My Little Rosebud (2:05)
07. A Permanent Love (4:26)
08. The Beggar (3:18)
09. Oh Yes I Do (4:36)
10. Tara Tara (3:28)
11. Where I'm Drumming From (1:22)
12. Ism (3:08)

- Gary King / bass
- Harry Whitaker / clavinet, piano
- Ray Armando / congas, bongos
- Alphonze Mouzon / drums, organ, piano, synthesizer, vocals
- Leon Pendarvis / electric piano, organ
- Mike Mandel / synthesizer
- Richie Resnicoff / guitar
- Angel Allende / percussion
- Steve Berrios / percussion
- Andy Gadsden / saxophone
- Mark Harowitz / steel guitar
- Barry Rogers / trombone
- Randy Brecker / trumpet

Recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City on December 10, 11 & 12, 1973

Although Alphonse Mouzon is celebrated largely for his drumming skills, the brilliant Funky Snakefoot is first and foremost a showcase for his keyboard prowess. Galvanized by its thick, greasy Arp, Moog, and organ solos, the album recalls Blue Note contemporaries like Gene Harris, albeit augmented by Mouzon's monster rhythms. Add his ragged-but-right vocals to the mix and Funky Snakefoot veers closer to mainstream R&B than virtually anything else the label ever released, but there's no denying the ferocity or virtuosity of this music. Mouzon's remarkable interplay with fellow keyboardists Harry Whitaker and Leon Pendarvis boasts a harmonic complexity that belongs solely to jazz, and the sheer vitality of cuts like "You Don't Know How Much I Love You" and "Where I'm Drumming From" is undeniable.

Alphonze Mouzon - 1973 - The Essence Of Mystery

Alphonze Mouzon 
The Essence Of Mystery

01. The Essence Of Mystery (4:55)
02. Funky Finger (3:40)
03. Crying Angels (5:23)
04. Why Can't We Make It (3:27)
05. Macrobian (5:14)
06. Spring Water (6:27)
07. Sunflower (4:27)
08. Thank You Lord (4:02)
09. Antonia (4:40)

-Alphonze Mouzon / drums, timpani, tabla, percussion, electric piano, clavinet, mellotron, vocals
-Buddy Terry / soprano saxophone
-Sonny Fortune / alto saxophone
-Larry Willis / piano, electric piano
-Buster Williams / bass
-Wilbur Bascomb Jr. / electric bass

Recorded December 13, 14 & 15 1972
Recorded at A&R Recording Studio

If you were to ask John Bonham of Led Zeppelin who his drumming hero was, he’d no doubt declare the great Alphonze Mouzon the fairest of them all. And that is a correct statement.

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 with 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 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 in 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.