Alphonse Mouzon

As You Wish

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As You Wish Review

by Jonathan Widran

When it comes to transforming a merely entertaining sound into an explosive experience, many of today's sax players could take punch lessons from underrated multi-sax ace Gary Meek. Meek turns Alphonse Mouzon's supreme, happy jazz extravaganza As You Wish into a compelling listen by infusing even the most fluffy ear candy with artsy edges which dash around unpredictably over the generally simple melodic soundscapes Mouzon creates. Originally released in 1989, the collection ambles amiably along a certain safe pathway, when suddenly Meek comes out of nowhere to work his tenor and soprano magic. On later tracks, multi-instrumentalist Mouzon takes a few chances himself, getting away from the strictly synthesized fare with organic blues grooves and room for jazzy solos by pianist Joachim Becker and bassist Michael Schurman. A brilliant drummer, Mouzon hits the mark best when playing live skins (hear an earful on the lengthy solo "Give the Drummer Some"). He should be given credit for creative electronic work, however, especially on the atmospheric, Latin-tinged closer, "I Remember Spain." Mouzon is often criticized for sacrificing art for airplay. Here, he achieves the ultimate balance.

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