ON TOP OF THE WORLD


THE MAC REPORT - JULY 1, 1994

Pat McCoy

 

Is this guy on top of the world, or what? He successfully pulled his entire catalogue from Optimism Music and is now Chairman and CEO of his own label, Tenacious Records. This is his second project for Tenacious, and last week was our number one most added project, and this week again was right up there with the Big Kahunas. He has also enlisted a list of heavies that includes Russ Freeman, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Everette Harp, to name but a few. His music is always upbeat, and on this particular CD his music is hotter than usual, starting with the first cut, "Aftershock", a song most likely written after the January moving and shaking in the Los Angeles area. "Soul Mates" is another Alphonse specialty, but the entire album is full of interesting pieces. Alphonse is back, independently, and PAC radio has seemed to embrace his music once more.

 

BLACK RADIO EXCLUSIVE - JULY 15, 1994

Terry Muggleton

 

This respected jazz funk musician is teamed with an army of jazz music's current crop of top artists. With the likes of Gerald Albright, Everette Harp and Eric Marienthal joining Mouzon, there's never a dull moment on this baker's dozen of songs. The album's opener "Aftershock" jumps out at you, followed by "Popcorn", a bubbling groove with Harp leading the way with alto sax. The tenor sax of Richard Elliot changes the pace on "Mafia The Talking Parrot", and on "Love's Alright", a gentle groove with qualities for all to enjoy. The Rippingtons' Russ Freeman and guitar make an appearance on "Cappuccino Girl," a candidate for 'song of the album.' Other hot edits include "Allison," one of the slower grooves on the album and "Child's Play," a quiet and mystical song whose simplicity makes it work.

 

L.A. JAZZ SCENE - SEPT 1994

Dan Margules

 

Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Alphonse Mouzon's follow-up to The Survivor, my personal favorite pop-jazz CD of last year, is again everything a contemporary jazz album should be; bright, hummable melodies; funky to smooth rhythms; jammin' arrangements; and help from some of the best names in the genre!

The explosive "Aftershock" (guess when it was recorded!) gets the set going, followed by Everette Harp's fierce blowing on the percolating "Popcorn." "Soul Mates" is one of Mouzon's many playful melodies. His piano part repeats the main theme while guest saxophonist Gerald Albright goes nuts. Four tracks feature sax maniac Richard Elliot. The soulful energizer "Mafia The Talking Parrot" perfectly matches Elliot's styling, while the breezy "The Morning After" is another solid Alphonse winner.

The next four tracks re-unite (as on The Survivor) the nylon string guitar of Russ Freeman with his original Rippington sax man Brandon Fields. Again, the tunes are great and the sound of Freeman and Fields together almost can't be beat. The disc closes with Eric Marienthal on the wonderfully sing-songy "Child's Play." This disc is a winner through and through.

 

JAZZTIMES - DEC 1994 (Condensed)

Hilarie Grey

 

Composer/arranger and multi-instrumentalist Alphonse Mouzon offers stylish, effervescent reminders of why synthesizers can be so much fun on On Top of the World. Mouzon must be one very happy, well-adjusted individual, because his compositions are almost relentlessly sunny in tone. The album is framed by two of its most dynamic, hooky offerings - the future-groover "Aftershock," and the uplifting lilt of "Child's Play," driven by Mouzon's swaying electric piano and a terrific alto sax lead by guest Eric Marienthal. Mouzon is strongest on the hyper upbeat tunes "Mafia The Talking Parrot" and "The Morning After," both of which feature Richard Elliot on tenor sax.

 

WFIT RADIO WAVES - AUG 1994

Terri Wright

 

On his new release, Alphonse Mouzon has assembled a dynamite cast of musicians - Russ Freeman, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot, Brandon Fields, Eric Marienthal, and Everette Harp. All of the songs are written, arranged, and produced by Mouzon - his energies and talents seem to know no boundaries.

As in the past this album is dedicated to his two sons, and Mouzon's sense of family is highly evident by numerous cuts on the release. "Mafia The Talking Parrot" is actually named after his pet who he jokingly refers to as the Staff Accountant of his music company. "Cappuccino Girl" is an upbeat piece written for his fiancee, who he plans to marry in August. An airy tune "The Morning After" has a smooth, sweet sound that melts in your mouth like apple butter dripping from a warm biscuit.

Mouzon manages to keep himself very busy - raising his children, maintaining a regular schedule of releases - writing, arranging, producing, and in addition to all this, he also owns and operates his own music company. A multi-talented individual with a lot going for him. Alphonse Mouzon has every right to be On Top Of The World!

 

WLOQ PURE MUSIC SEPT 1994

 

Alphonse Mouzon has learned. He's learned that in order to have the music industry to be fully accountable to the artist, he needs to start his own record company. That company has also reissued his best earlier releases. More importantly, Alphonse Mouzon has learned to make contemporary jazz albums with strong melodies, mainstream jazz credibility, and superb sidemen (Richard Elliot, Russ Freeman, Gerald Albright and more). "Cappuccino Girl," "Love's Alright" and "Mad About You" are standouts.

 

THE URBAN NETWORK - JULY 15, 1994

A. Scott Galloway

 

Drummer Alphonse Mouzon, who has recorded with artists ranging from the original incarnation of Weather Report and Miles Davis to having his music used in the soap operas "Santa Barbara" and "General Hospital," has just released his latest of MANY solo albums, On Top Of The World. This generous 13-track CD, out on his Tenacious Records label, is typically multi-format radio friendly, boasting music for Urban, Jazz, AC and NAC. Highlights for Urban radio are the opening numbers "Aftershock" (recorded during the earthquake aftershocks in L.A.) and "Popcorn" (JB meets hip hop). On the romantic side there's the Kenny G-esque "Mad About You," a gorgeously breezy samba titled "Allison" (for his fiancee) and the title track. The entire record is laidback and ready for play all summer long (with Everette Harp, Gerald Albright, and Russ Freeman).

 

RAPPORT - SEPT / OCT 1995 ( "Four Star Rating")

W.Y.

 

As with everything he's ever done, Mouzon demands and gets top musicians to play his original compositions which demand an exacting precision within his musical scope. This set is a kind of musical rap, without words, that jumps, offers a build upon repetitive themes and constant percussion led by Mouzon's drums and synthesizer as the underlying adhesive.

"Aftershock," the opener, comes barreling forth from the opening bell with Mouzon working his synthesizer, horns, drums, bells and you-name-it for a dynamic outing. Gite's assist by electronic bass gives the piece added breadth and impact. This certainly follows forth with "Popcorn," the difference being Harp on alto sax interspersing his blasts as effect to the whole. "Soul Mates" works the identifying theme with Albright's forthright alto sax front and center. Albright has never been known as a laid-back, reticent musician so his technique fits nicely into Mouzon's framework. But Mouzon's synthesizer and electric guitar add depth. Once again it's a snappy, outward thrust to the tune that makes it work overall.

One of the most memorable tunes is "Love's Alright" which gives us Elliot's lyrical effort on the tenor sax while Mouzon keeps the energy at a high level, and Gite's bass offers sturdy support. Mouzon is very much a presence what with running the gamut from synthesizer to drums to both electric and acoustic piano and bells giving the tune added stature.

Russ Freeman of Rippingtons fame gets a great play here on "Cappuccino Girl" with a firm grasp of his guitar while Fields on alto sax gives him a ride-along support and takes a nice entry on the theme when his number is called. Mouzon again adds the right amount of musical shadings with strings and percussion as the composition works its way to conclusion.

One of the most beautiful tunes ever turned out is "Wish You Were Here" which once again teams Field's alto sax and Freeman on guitar. It's a softer piece than the others although Mouzon never lets the energy down. Indeed, the seeming paradox of allowing an easy guitar play with dramatic piano, strings, and percussion behind astonishes listeners as well as entertains them. The 13 tunes on the outing all deliver a cohesion among players and composer that ingratiates throughout.

 

LA PRENSA de Los Angeles - AUG 18-24, 1994 (IN SPANISH)

 

La rara combionacion de ser buen ejacutante y compositor a la vez, de la que carecen la mayoria de los musicos modernos, se da en Mouzon. Su habilidad en el emlpeo de la bateria y el piano corre pareja con su vena creativa para componer los temas de sus discos. En este, sin duda el mas logrado hasta la fecha, se une a musicos de la talla de Russ Freeman (guitarra), y Gerald Albright y Eric Marienthal (saxo), entre otros. Sobresalen sus temas: "Mad About You", "Cappuccino Girl", Allison y el que sirve de titulo para el album.

 

ACCESS ALL AREAS - SEPT 1994 (IN GERMAN)

 

Super-Trommler und Redaktionsfreund Alphonse Mouzon is nicht nur "Multiintrumentalist, sondern auch Songwriter, Arranger, Produzent un Inhaber/Geschaftsfuhrer eines Labels namens Tenacious Records. Fur die Kult-Soap-Opera "Santa Barbara" ("California Clan") und diverse andere Glotzen-Happen sog sich der gute Mann Soundtracks aus den Fingern. Bei so viel Talent auf einem Haufen durfte man automatisch Grosses von der neuen CD des Maestros erwarten. Und - um allen neugierigen Lesern die Spannung zu nehmen - man wird wahrlich nicht enntauscht. On Top Of The World (Tenacious Records) ist ein weiterer Leckerbissen aus dem Hause Mouzon, der sich auf jeden Fall in einen Topf mit Klazzikern wie By All Means, The Sky's The Limit, Back To Jazz, Early Spring, As You Wish, und The Survivor gesellen darf. Ein Buss fur jeden Jazz-Liebhaber!

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