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Larry Coryell Remembers Alphonse Mouzon

11.21.48 – 12.25.16

Alphonse Mouzon (photo by Sánta Istvan Csaba)
Alphonse Mouzon (photo by Sánta Istvan Csaba)

Alphonse Mouzon liked the word “tenacious”; he reveled in his tenacity throughout his life. He was a young black man who came to New York from South Carolina to establish himself, and establish he did! He embraced New York and New York embraced him. We met in 1973 to discuss forming a thinking man’s fusion band, and that band was the Eleventh House.

Alphonse was a prolific, original composer. On top of that, he was a drummer with more power and strength than I’ve ever heard. When he sat down and started to play, the whole drum set would shake. When he hit the toms, you could hear it in Siberia. One time in Seattle, around 1974, I asked Alphonse to play an intro to my tune “Birdfingers”: His intro was 30 minutes long—a percussion masterpiece—and when the band finally came in it was like opening the gates of heaven.

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