The Corporation's Alphonso 'Fonce' Mizell Dies

Alphonso "Fonce" Mizelle (left) passes away at 68. (Google)
Alphonso "Fonce" Mizelle (left) passes away at 68. (Google)

Variety is reporting that Alphonso "Fonce" Mizelle — renowned producer, songwriter and member of Motown hit makers the Corporation and the legendary production duo the Mizell Brothers — has passed away. Mizell was a producer of early hits by the Jackson 5 and pace-setting albums by trumpeter Donald Byrd and disco act A Taste of Honey.

Mizell was born in Englewood, N.J., and educated at Howard University. He broke in at the top at Motown Records as a member of the Corporation, the production team that also included label owner Berry Gordy Jr. and songwriter-producers Freddie Perren (Mizell's Howard classmate) and Deke Richards. The Corporation scored a trifecta of No. 1 pop and R&B singles with the Jacksons: "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save" in 1970.

After the Corporation dissolved in 1972, Mizell began working with his older brother, Larry. The Mizell Brothers hit immediate pay dirt with Black Byrd, first of a series of sleek jazz fusion albums for Blue Note by veteran brass player Donald Byrd. That title, which reached No. 36 nationally, was succeeded by the Mizells' productions Street Lady (No. 33, 1974), Stepping Into Tomorrow (No. 42, 1975), Places and Space (No. 49, 1975) and Caricatures (No. 60, 1977). They also produced the 1974 debut of Byrd's R&B spinoff outfit, the Blackbyrds.


The Mizell Brothers also worked with the Jacksons and Michael Jackson, as well as other Motown acts such as the Miracles and Edwin Starr. On the jazz side, they produced singer-flautist Bobbi Humphrey, organist Johnny Hammond and saxophonist Gary Bartz.

The cause of Mizell's death is unknown. He was 68.

Read more at Variety.

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