Alphonso ‘Fonce’ Mizell has passed away. Together with his brother Larry Mizell he formed the production duo ‘The Mizell Brothers‘ that produced many jazz, soul and r&b classics laying the foundation for vast amounts of rap classics as well.
Alphonso Mizell was part of Motown songwriting team ‘The Corporation™‘, a group consisting of him, Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards, that was formed by Berry Gordy after he became dissatisfied with the star status and accompanying demands the Holland–Dozier–Holland trio had attained. ‘The Corporation™‘ penned the hits for the ‘Jackson 5‘ anonymously but Mizell became disgruntled by their own group album, which Berry Gordy had promised, never happening, and the group disbanded in 1972.
Fonce would move on to Blue Note where he linked with his brother Larry and college friend Donald Byrd. ‘The Mizell Brothers‘ produced several jazz classics during their tenure Blue Note, and together with Donald Byrd wrote history when they recorded the biggest seller the label released, 1978’s ‘Black Byrd‘. Jazz purists did not universally applaud the style of the brothers at first, as they were known to use an eclectic approach and hold a keen ear towards soul and funk, besides more traditional jazz. The brothers would eventually leave the naysayers in their dust as they were instrumental in forming what would become known as ‘fusion jazz’ and created a fertile ground for generations of sample diggers after them. Just see how many hip-hop classics you can recognize in this short selection of tracks, it’ll probably be more than a few.
Thanks Alphonso ‘Fonce’ Mizell, for sharing your talent with the world.
Matthew Africa: 2 Busy Saying Yeah 21 – The Mizell Brothers