Alphonse Mouzon, who is an African American mixed with French and Blackfoot Indian, was born November 21, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Bonds-Wilson High School where he received his early musical training under the direction of saxophonist Lonnie Hamilton III, and some drum lessons from Charles Garner. Following graduation from high school, he moved to New York to study music and drama at New York City College and medicine at Manhattan Medical School. Mouzon took drum lessons from jazz pianist Billy Taylor’s drummer Bobby Thomas. While attending college, Alphonse played in the pit band of the Broadway show “Promises, Promises” after being recommended by Bobby Thomas. Mouzon also worked as a medical technologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after graduating from Manhattan Medical School. However his medical career was short-lived.
By 1969 his reputation as a player had spread to such an extent that a medical career was no longer attractive. By the early seventies, he had embarked upon a musical journey that would take him to almost every corner of the world and would establish his reputation as one the most creative musician of the era. In 1975 Mouzon studied acting at The Lee Strausberg Institute for Actors in Hollywood, California. In 1997 he studied acting with Susan Ricketts and in 1998 Mouzon studied advance voice-overs with Don Pitts at California State University of Northridge.
Mouzon’s musical associations read like a veritable Who’s Who of Modern Jazz and Pop Music. His talents cover a broad range of musical disciplines and philosophies. He was the rhythmic foundation for the far reaching musical explorations of pianist McCoy Tyner. He was a charter member along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, of the group Weather Report. Along with guitarist Larry Coryell, Mouzon was co-founder of The Eleventh House, the seminal fusion band of the seventies. The Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House reunited after 25 years in July 1998 and toured all over the world featuring Mouzon until December 12, 1999.
Mouzon has also played and/or recorded with Gil Evans, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Les McCann, Ronnie Laws, Klaus Doldinger’s Passport, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Nathan East, Cecil McBee, Albert Mangelsdorff, Joachim Kuhn, Jasper van’t Hof, Michel Legrand, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Donald Bird, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Arturo Sandoval, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, George Coleman, John Klemmer, Billy Harper, Dave Grusin, Russ Freeman, George Howard, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G., Joanne Brackeen, Horace Parlan, Robin Kenyatta, Ross Carnegie Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Gloria Lynn, Gloria Coleman, Denise Williams, Freda Payne, Shirley Scott, Anita O’Day, Betty Davis, and in 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack album entitled “Dingo”. Miles Davis even spoke highly of Mouzon in his book entitled Miles - The Autobiography.
Mouzon has also played with and helped the early careers of Lee Ritenour, David Beniot, Gerald Albright, Sam Riney, Brandon Fields, Greg Karukas, Dave Koz, and Richard Elliot.
Mouzon’s rock/pop credentials include gigs with no less respectable a crew than Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Patrick Moraz, Tommy Bolin and Chubby Checker. During his acceptance speech for induction into the 1995 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Robert Plant, lead singer for the legendary rock group Led Zeppelin, named Mouzon one of the band’s major influences.
Besides radio, Mouzon’s music has been aired on CBS, NBC and ABC’s Daytime Television Soap Operas - “All My Children,” “Another World,” “As The World Turns,” “Days of Our Lives,” “One Life to Live,” “Loving,” “General Hospital,” “Generations,” “Santa Barbara,” “The Guiding Light,” “Sunset Beach,” “Passions,” and CBS Sports, “Life Styles of The Rich and Famous,” “Runaway With the Rich and Famous,” “Leeza,” “Hard Copy,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and many more!
Mouzon’s name can be found in just about every Jazz Encyclopedia/ Dictionary, and is listed the Second edition of Marquis Who’s Who In Entertainment and Who’s Who In The World. Mouzon was voted the Number Two Best Multi-Instrumentalist in the 1995 Jazziz Magazine Annual Readers’ Poll.
Mouzon lives with his wife Allison, six-year-old actress/model daughter Emma Alexandra, and his oldest son Alphonse-Philippe, along with their pet parrot Mafia, Cuddly the hamster, two pet rats named Tom and Jerry, and three hermit tree crabs named Rocky, Rose and Sunflower.
At present, Mouzon performs in Europe and in the U.S. with his trio, quartet, or quintet and as a featured guest artist with other groups. He is currently producing music for his next five CDs, entitled “Smooth as Silk,” “Angel Face,” “Live at The Baked Potato,” “High Noon,” and “Live in Bel Air” on Tenacious Records.
See Mouzon along with actor Ton Hanks in the film “That Thing You Do.” Alphonse is acting and playing drums. He also composed the music score for the Blue Spot jazz club scene, in which he plays a smokin’ drum solo. The acoustic piano melody and solo on “Blue Spot” were also performed (off camera) by Alphonse Mouzon.