Alphonse Mouzon

On Top of the World

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    5
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Though lovers of easygoing, likable, and funkified pop-jazz would say that Alphonse Mouzon is a brilliant composer of lightweight confections, while some will argue that his greatest talent is as a ringleader. His tunes dance on the fluffier edges of soul, and he knows just how to bounce them up electronically, but in the end too many of them run together: similar melodies and repetitive tempos. What lifts this collection are the dynamic charges offered by his guest sax crew of Richard Elliot, Everette Harp, Brandon Fields, Eric Marienthal, Gerald Albright, and in a few tender moments, Russ Freeman's elegant acoustic guitar. Mouzon doesn't give them quite the amount of space they need to stretch out, but they make the most of each session. What's clear from the song titles is that Mouzon is in love, and that complacent happiness shines through. But veteran listeners these days will probably demand more excitement than these pleasantries offer.

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