Kansas City-born singer Kevin Mahogany, who this past summer moved back to his hometown after living in Miami for many years, has passed on Sunday. He was only 59 years old and had to withstand the sudden death of his wife Allene in August.
Yes, he was the perfect blues and swing singer, but I really liked him best when he went off the secure blues path to tread other territories like pop and soul. His very strong and powerful voice could also be wonderfully tender and smooth. On “The Tears Of A Clown”, recorded only with Dave Stryker on guitar, his intimate and conversational style was shining bright. “She’s Out Of My Life”, Michael Jackson’s hit song which Kevin also recorded for his 2002 album “Pride & Joy”, or “Just My Imagination” from the same album, recorded in a duo setting with pianist James Weidman, proved that he was much more capable than shouting the blues or belting out “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”.
Kevin also wrote his own songs, humorous and witty, and recorded his last album “The Vienna Affair” with Austrian musicians in 2015. I had the chance to interview him at the Montreux Jazz Festival back in 1997 and still remember his infectious laugh and his love for the music.