The Mahogany Man
With his gift for bebop, ballads, blues, and swinging jazz, the talents of Kevin Mahogany emerged long before he was old enough to spell "record deal". "When I was a kid, music was just as important as English and math in our household" says Kansas-City-born, Kevin Mahogany. "In fact, piano lessons were a grade school staple for the whole family."
The Early Performing Years
By 1970 after starting on piano and moving to clarinet, 12 year-old Kevin was playing the baritone saxophone. That same year he first played professionally with Eddie Baker's New Breed Orchestra. Throughout high school he played in marching and concert bands, orchestra and stage band as well as continuing his professional playing with Eddie Baker. But it was during his senior year in high school that his true talent was discovered - singing.
Start the Music
When Kevin got to Baker University, he performed with various instrumental and vocal ensembles. He was allowed to form his own vocal jazz choir while at Baker. After graduating, he returned to his roots in Kansas City and played with a couple of bands before forming two groups -
Mahogany, a cross between contemporary R&B and jazz and The Apollos, a 60's R&B dance band. Both groups allowed Kevin to attract a huge following in the Kansas City area throughout the 80's. All the while, Kevin Mahogany was continuing to develop his own style, following artists like Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Al Jarreau and Eddie Jefferson.
In 1991, the NRE Trio heard Kevin while on tour in Kansas City and offered him an invitation to tour with their trio. Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to Frank Mantooth; a friendship developed that led to Kevin being featured on Frank's next album.
Earning Acclaim as a Recording Artist
In February 1993, the Kevin Mahogany debut album "Double Rainbow" hit the record stores.
Its seldom-heard ballads, bop tunes and blues were met with instant acclaim. He recorded three more, well-received albums - "Songs and Moments", "You Got What It Takes", and "Pussy Cat Dues" - with the independent German record label Enja.
In 1995, Kevin signed with Warner Brothers and the following year released the self-titled album, "Kevin Mahogany". "Another Time, Another Place", "My Romance", and "Portrait of Kevin Mahogany" closed out the next three years of Kevin at Warner Brothers.
After a short hiatus, Kevin Mahogany returned to the scene in 2002 with Telarc records and released "Pride & Joy", a tribute to the music of the great Motown era. The shaping of these tunes became very important to Kevin. "When you listen to the artists who we respect and call the masters of jazz, they were doing the same thing, performing the music of their youth." Kevin continued, "I want to do the same, and continue the tradition."
Kevin Mahogany has proved to be the quintessential jazz vocalist. Newsweek describes him as "the standout jazz vocalist of his generation." New Yorker magazine writer Whitney Balliet writes, "There is little Mahogany cannot do." Says the L.A. TIMES, "Mahogany is one of the first truly-gifted male vocalists to emerge in years."