Jazz: Mahogany delivers with verve, conviction.

 

Kevin Mahogany sang only one moonlit ballad from his wonderful new album, "My Romance" (Warner Brothers), in his opening show Tuesday at Jazz Alley, but it really didn't matter.

Even on get-acquainted fare - "Take the 'A' Train," "Green Dolphin Street," "My Funny Valentine" - he and his pickup rhythm section performed with relaxed verve and conviction. The few people who showed up for this last-minute fill-in for the ailing Dee Dee Bridgewater got what amounted to a private audience with one of the most charming - and accomplished - singers in jazz today.

Mahogany is an imposing, portly man with an amiable demeanor and a misty tenor-baritone that woos in the mid ranges, cuts glass up top and is downright startling when it lands on a big, booming bass note.

Unlike so many contemporary vocalists, Mahogany also scat-sings with accuracy and invention, which he did to excellent effect on a jumpin' duo with Seattle basist Chuck Deardorf, on "All Blues." Mahogany's improvised lyric about getting back to the East Coast to see his gal, like his elegant delivery of "Kansas City," which followed, revealed a truth-telling blues singer of the old school.

by Paul de Barros
Special to The Seattle Times
October 8, 1998