The Artistry of… Kevin Mahogany

When Kevin Mahogany sang, he sang you a story. As I listen to his voice, I imagine him collecting listeners the way people gather around and try to get in close to someone who has something special to say.

Sadly, we lost him way too soon, back in 2017.

Contemporary male jazz singers are a rare breed, and his voice was a welcome addition to a dynamic but small number of standout vocalists. His voice was like velvet and gently held your attention from the beginning to the end of any song.

A Kansas City native, his first instrument was the piano, followed by clarinet and baritone sax. The artistry of Al Jarreau turned Mahogany on to singing — specifically the Jarreau album Look to the Rainbow.

His hometown spirit was deep. He starred in the film Kansas City, playing the singer Big Joe Turner. The tradition of music in Kansas City culture defined his soul. His students at Berklee and the University of Miami experienced his artistry. We are the luckiest to have his music living on with us. Mahogany: the colour of beautiful music.

The Artistry of… airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.