Kevin Mahogany is a real find

By Danny O'Bryan

Considering the paucity of great male jazz singers  these days, most are in their 70s or 80s or dead  Kevin Mahogany is a real find. He's barely middle age, with a booming, velvet baritone that could be compared to the late Joe Williams. Likewise, he can scat and do vocalese with the best of them.

Born in Kansas City and originally an instrumentalist, Mahogany was a saxophone player whose ideas were too fast for his fingers. He's a multitalented player who's been around for a decade doing things like playing blues singer Big Joe Turner in Robert Altman's jazz film Kansas City and recording several excellent albums, this being the latest.

A good deal of Duke Ellington ("It Don't Mean a Thing and Don't Get Around Much Anymore" with the Frank Mantooth Orchestra) is served up here, plus bluesy pieces like trumpeter Harry Edison's "Center Piece." No doubt about it, Kevin Mahogany is a rare find in today's jazz world. Catch him while you can. Kevin Mahogany appears with tenor saxophonist Red Holloway at the Jazz Factory on Thursday, June 29.