Mahogany slowly turns up the excitement without going over the top.

 

52nd Street Reviewer Michael Colby gives Kevin Mahogany's 1998 release "My Romance" four stars - and the following review:

After establishing himself as a rising young jazz vocalist (and one of the few male ones) with a string of consistently satisfying albums on the Enja label, Kevin Mahogany's first two outings with a major label (Warner Bros.) were somewhat disappointing.

This time out, I'm happy to say, he's got it right. Focusing on a collection of love songs, Mahogany invites favorable comparisons with Johnny Hartman and Billy Eckstine as he easily wraps his baritone to tenor ranged voice around each tune.

Some of the tunes are time-tested standards, such as "Teach Me Tonight," where Mahogany slowly turns up the excitement without going over the top, and two tunes closely associated with Eckstine, "Everything I Have is Yours" and "I Apologize" to which he certainly does justice.

The smooth, seductive mood generated by Mahogany and the sympathetic instrumentalists also works on tunes by some more contemporary song writers. He's softly pleading on James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," yet even more insistent on Lyle Lovett's "I Know You Know." My favorite of this excellent set is Van Morrison's "Wild Honey," where the combination of Mahogany's voice, an incredibly effective string arrangement and Kirk Whalum's soulful tenor saxophone stir up an intoxicating and sensuous cocktail.

It may have seemed a risk to put Mahogany into a set of eleven songs of such similar mood, but it's one that's paid off handsomely. Dim the lights, slip in this disc, set someone next to you on the couch you want to get to know better and see what develops. If it doesn't work, you got no one to blame here but yourself.