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Alphonse Mouzon - Mind Transplant CD (album) cover


Alphonse Mouzon


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.06 | 28 ratings

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4 stars So many great jazz-rock drummers out there in Progland, luminaries like Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Peter Erskine, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, Vinnie Colaiuta and Michael Walden, all made quite a name for themselves in a wide variety of sessions. There are some equally brilliant ones who are, sadly not quite as famous, such as Rayford Griffin (Ponty), Leon Chancler (Santana) and Chester Thompson (Ponty, Genesis). Which brings us to Alphonse Mouzon, a hyperactive drummer who should easily qualify to thump with the legends. His sensational technical display and furious passion are fully developed on this magical recording, a delightful coalition of instrumentalists helping him achieve the perfect groove. He would eventually carve out quite a reputation with Larry Coryell's 11th House, Roberta Flack and Al Di Meola. Guitarists Tommy Bolin, Jay Graydon and Lee Ritenour are into the mood, keyboardist Jerry Peters adding his jazz vibe and bassist Henry Davis keeping things nicely fastened and bolted. I found myself focused on Mouzon's incredible technique throughout the set list, after all, it's his solo outing and he is certainly not timid nor shy.

The eight tracks presented here are relatively short, precise and often hyperactive slices of jazz-funk-rock that explodes with resounding effect. From the opening title track, the intense suggestion is both swift and dynamic, showing off Mouzon's blistering technique and leading the crew into electric rocking horizons. Tingling and vocoder effects on the guitars from Bolin makes the grade while Henry Davis does great things to his bass guitar on 'Snow Bound', a singular display of choppy control, organized chaos and creativity. On the aptly named 'Carbon Dioxide', the mood varies between harsher expanses and softer climes, a definite showcase for Tommy Bolin to rip it up, muscled by a divine bass run and Mouzon's supersonic drumming, easily recalling Cobham's burly delivery. Peters flourishes on organ, adding more punch to the fury. A track that could have gone on for another ten minutes, at the rate they were going (cough, cough)!

Drum solo intro time on 'Ascorbic Acid' and what a powerhouse this one is, the relentlessly impatient burp of the bass egging the players closer to a razor edge, dignified by a pair of tortuous guitar solos that has speed, hysteria, sizzle and substance. Both Graydon and Ritenour duel mercilessly, each a thorough 'in the zone' blast. The much- maligned Ritenour also shines on the next two tunes, the lovely 'Happiness is Loving You', for this is a respected axe man who could have made a greater name for himself then just a gifted session man. Big surprise on the choppy funk tune of 'Some of the Things People Do'. Similar to Dr. John's 'In the Right Place', this is more of a vocal driven funk number that has a nice Southern feel with Ritenour's slinky rhythm work and slippery leads pushing the surprisingly adept Mouzon vocals into the spotlight.

Highlight track unquestionably, 'Golden Rainbows' is quite the rhythmic oasis, giving a bubbly groove that is unshakeable and resolute, thus providing the platform for some serious soloing, a slower-paced steam roller that forges forward bold and confident, with perfectly positioned keys, bass and that powerful drum beat. Bolin takes it over with perhaps some of his best work, in a gritty, talkative style that emotes very obviously and hints at some Hendrixian notions of sustained bluesy notes, lush with sweat and brawn. World class track, period, worth the price of admission. Counter that with the masterful 'Nitroglycerin' , a perfect description for the detonation on display here, a blistering musical racer that careens down the sonic highway with a no-holds-barred, 'pedal to the metal' mad dash to some imaginary checkered flag. Bolin and Mouzon are simply terrifying at surpassing the level of notes and beats thrashing about, seemingly effortlessly. Short, sweet and sick.

Definitely a must for fans of the artists presented above, guitar god aficionados as well as drumming students looking for heroes. This album sits nicely among my many jazz-rock gems.

4 Awareness uproots

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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