R.I.P. Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell of the Legendary Motown Mizell Brothers Production Team

Motown songwriter and producer Alphonso Mizell has died at the age of 68.

The star, nicknamed Fonce, passed away on Monday (11Jul11). The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Mizell rose to fame as a member of 1960s hitmaking quartet The Corporation, which included Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and helped to write and produce a string of the Jackson 5’s early chart smashes, including I Want You Back and ABC.

He left Motown in the 1970s and formed the production duo The Mizell Brothers with his sibling, Larry, for their new company, Sky High Productions. They went on to work with artists at the iconic soul and jazz label, Blue Note Records, producing albums for Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphreys and Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith.

They also scored hits with A Taste Of Honey’s Boogie Oogie Oogie in 1978 and the dance funk song Gigolo for Mary Wells in 1982.

In addition, The Mizell Brothers are responsible for some of the most lushly created music with a very characteristic jazz funk tinge.  Plain and simple, some of the classiest black music ever.  While we were first introduced to his music through his classic Motown work, it is the work at the later stages of his career that spawned some of the most incredible pieces, many of which influenced (and continue to influence) modern soul music.

Here are few of our favorite Mizell Brothers and related artists productions:

Think Twice – Donald Byrd (contains Main Source “Lookin’ at the Front Door” Sample

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTpFpRqGFQg]

Wind Parade – Donald Byrd (contains Black Moon “Buck em Down” sample)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_CoWmoGgqY]

Music Is My Sanctuary – Gary Bartz

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqTex9wfKW0]

Play with the Changes – 4Hero featuring Fonce Mizell

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV6_l6P7LjY]

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