Singer Kevin Mahogany has a passion for jazz, pop and blues. Described by Newsweek as "the standout jazz vocalist of his generation," Mahogany has previously released a string of critically-acclaimed albums, including a collection of R&B and pop classics titled Portrait of Kevin Mahogany. Mahogany's latest effort, Pride and Joy, combines his love for jazz and Motown.
Kevin Mahogany was born in Kansas City, Missouri. But it was the infectious soul sound of Detroit, Michigan's Motown Records that made him want to sing.
Mahogany said professional singing came after years of being an instrumentalist. He said, "I stated off playing piano and I switched to clarinet in junior high school, tenor saxophone and then eventually baritone saxophone. But when I was teaching at the age of 14, I was actually teaching 'legitimate' clarinet, as they say. And that's pretty much how it all started. The first record I heard of jazz that really turned me on was Al Jarreau's Look To The Rainbow album, and from there I started researching backwards. So, finding out who Al Jarreau listened to was where I found Jon Hendricks and then Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. And then continuing backwards towards Eddie Jefferson and Louis Armstrong even."
Kevin Mahogany's new album Pride and Joy pays tribute to the great Motown hits of the 1960s, including a folksy version of Smokey Robinson's "The Tears Of A Clown."
"[On the] original recording," Mr. Mahogany said, "they had a very happy dance type of music and the lyrics weren't happy at all. It's a very sad song when you listen to them. So we slowed them down and moved them back to the acoustic guitar, almost like a folk song arrangement. And now, you're almost 'forced' to listen to the words. And when you listen to the lyrics you get a whole new meaning for that song.
"I want to become known as a really good vocalist," he continued, "as opposed to a really good jazz singer or a really good pop singer, which means I can traverse all kinds of styles and hopefully do well in all of them."
Jazz singer Kevin Mahogany makes his debut on the Telarc Records label with the album Pride and Joy. From it comes "Never Can Say Goodbye," a number one hit by one of Motown's greatest groups, The Jackson Five.