With over ten recordings as a leader, vocalist, businessman and educator Kevin Mahogany has been the standard setter for jazz vocalists for three decades.
His broad baritone was forged in his hometown: the legendary jazz metropolis known as Kansas City; where he learned to swing like Charlie Parker, shout the blues like Big Joe Turner, and cry a ballad like Lester Young; while, extending, elaborating and refining the jazz vocal legacies of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Eddie Jefferson and Al Jarreau into the myriad, interwoven dimensions of music – from gutbucket, the Great American Songbook, and gospel, to Mingus to Motown.
Mahogany played the piano, clarinet and baritone saxophone before he started singing in high school. He played saxophone on his first professional gig with Eddie Baker’s New Breed Orchestra. Mahogany studied with local jazz legend Ahmad Aladeen at the Charlie Parker Academy, and matriculated at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, where he formed a jazz vocal choir and earned a BFA in Music, English and Drama in 1981. He returned home and joined a nine-piece horn band called Robinson-Pike. He later formed two R&B-centric bands; The Apollos and Mahogany. In1991, he toured with the NRE Trio, and was featured on pianist Frank Mantooth’s 1993 CD, Dangerous Precedent.
That same year, Mahogany released his debut recording, Double Rainbow, was released on the Enja label in 1993. Specializing in performing and seldom-heard songs, the stylistic range of Mahogany’s recordings range from the kinetic big band bravura of Pussy Cat Dues: The Music of Charles Mingus; which featured Mingus sidemen trombonist Jimmy Knepper, alto saxophonist Charles MacPherson with the WDR Big Band, to Pride and Joy, his ebullient Motown tribute featuring the music of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.