RIP: Alphonse Mouzon, Legendary Jazz Drummer

Alphonse Mouzon
(Nov. 21, 1948-Dec. 26, 2016)

It is with great sadness we report that legendary jazz drummer Alphonse Mouzon passed away today after a recent battle with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. He was 68 years old.

alphonse collage

Mouzon, who was born in Charleston, South Carolina, was a charter member of the group Weather Report. Along with guitarist Larry Coryell, Mouzon was co-founder of ’70s fusion band The Eleventh House. Mouzon and Coryell still tour together in a trio and with the Eleventh House.

He also played and/or recorded with Kenny G, Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Lee Ritenour, David Benoit, Gerald Albright, Russ Freeman, George Howard, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Gregg Karukas, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Les McCann, Ronnie Laws, Jaco Pastorius, Joey DeFrancesco, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Donald Bird, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins, Arturo Sandoval, Christian McBride, John Klemmer, Billy Harper, Dave Grusin, ex-girlfriend Roberta Flack, Sheila E., Denise Williams, Freda Payne, and numerous others. In 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack Dingo.

Mouzon’s rock-pop credentials include gigs with Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Chubby Checker, Deep Purple and others.

Mouzon notified Smooth Jazz News via the following email on Nov. 1 of his illness:

September 7, 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 3-4 Neuroendocrine Carcinoma, an incredibly rare cancer. On October 10, 2016, I went to Kaiser Permanente for a scheduled appointment with my Oncologist – but I was immediately admitted into the hospital because my lab test results revealed that my kidneys were failing. I was told by my Nephrologist that if I went back home, I would die. I was hospitalized for 13 days straight and was finally released from Kaiser Permanente on October 23, 2016. While I was hospitalized, my surgeons tried to place stents in my left and right kidneys but were unsuccessful because of size of my malignant pelvis mass. They instead performed a nephrostomy on my left kidney on October 11th and on my right kidney on October 18th. I currently have catheters coming out of my back to drain the urine from my kidneys into two external bags. On top of this, I was told that I suffer from Anemia (you couldn’t tell from my drumming), borderline diabetes, and that my 2006 Prostate Cancer has returned. Well, I’ve known about the prostate cancer since March because my PSA rose up to 63. I’ve been taking injections every three months to bring down my PSA level, and luckily it has gone down to 6. As for my Neuroendocrine Carcinoma cancer, my Oncologist and Nephrologist aren’t giving me a chance to survive, but my faith in God is strong and I know that anything is possible through Him! My kidneys are too weak for the doctors to perform chemotherapy, but I know that through God’s grace, I will beat my rare cancer and I will soon beat my drums again. The renown C.H.I.P.S.A. Gerson Therapy Hospital in Mexico specializes in natural cancer treatments and boasts a 95% cancer treatment successful rate, but I must raise enough money ($32,000) for these natural treatments. With the financial support of strangers, fans, family and friends, I know that I can overcome this battle. I want to be around for my beautiful children, grandchildren, family, friends and fans! I’ve started a GoFundMe campaign at to raise money for my rare Neuroendocrine Carcinoma cancer treatments. Please keep me alive by donating as much as you can to my GoFundMe campaign. No amount is too big or too small, and your prayers are greatly appreciated. Thanks a Million for your support. Sincerely, Alphonse Mouzon

Mouzon’s GoFundMe campaign had raised $61,084 at the time of his death.

For more information on Mouzon, visit

By Melanie Maxwell

One thought on “RIP: Alphonse Mouzon, Legendary Jazz Drummer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *