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Kevin Mahogany, the Kansas City jazz singer, has died | The Kansas City Star

Kevin Mahogany, the Kansas City jazz singer, has died | The Kansas City Star


http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/back-to-rockville/article190403104.html
 
Kansas City jazz singer Kevin Mahogany has died
By Timothy Finn tfinn@kcstar.com
 

Jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany has died. File photo
 
December 18, 2017 03:04 PM
 
Jazz singer Kevin Mahogany, a Kansas City native, has died. He was 59.
News of his death was reported Monday morning on social media, including his Facebook page. At 11:30 a.m, the American Jazz Museum issued this tweet: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Kevin Mahogany. His broad baritone has been an essential piece of the jazz landscape in Kansas City and all across the world.” A cause of death was not reported.
Mahogany’s discography comprises more than a dozen albums going back to 1993, including recordings on the Warner Bros. and Telarc labels.
He was also a jazz educator, having taught at the University of Miami and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was a 1981 graduate of Baker University in Baldwin, Kan., where he received a degree in music and drama.
He gained recognition outside his hometown for his role in the 1996 Robert Altman jazz film, “Kansas City.” Mahogany was also an accomplished instrumentalist on the baritone saxophone, clarinet and saxophone. As a youth, he studied saxophone with the late Ahmad Alaadeen at the Charlie Parker Academy in Kansas City.
In a recent interview with the Napa Valley Register, Mahogany cited his earliest influences: “Listening to a lot of bebop — Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks-type stuff. I tend to lean toward a ballad singer like Johnny Hartman and also the blues with Joe Williams. He brought a different style to the same genre of music: the blues background to the jazz style of music.”
He also explained why he waited until after high school to focus on singing, for which he became most famous.
“I chose that direction because it allowed me to be more flexible in terms of different genres — jazz or R&B or rock or soul even,” he said. “I was able to do a variety of styles without any problem, vocally.”
In his bio for Warner Bros., he said his instrumental background made him a better vocalist: “I’ve been on both sides of that, as an instrumentalist and vocalist. What I see the instrumentalist saying is, ‘If you’re going to be a vocalist, you need to know what’s going on here.”
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