Kevin Mahogany

Another Time Another Place

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Kevin Mahogany has a big, rich, mellow, bear hug of a voice suitably matched to his physique, and he also has a musical brain, no doubt enriched by his experience as a baritone sax player. Yet this big voice is agile enough to tackle the slippery stream of words in "Cloudburst" -- and there are other surprises on his second Warner Bros. album that one normally does not expect from one of today's mostly conservative jazz vocalists. For one thing, he actually opens Another Time Another Place with a scatting extravaganza called "Big Rub," with solos all around for a band that includes smokin' Joe Lovano on tenor and Cyrus Chestnut on piano. Elsewhere, Mahogany tries a somewhat daring experiment, matching his swinging tune "I Believe She Was Talkin' 'Bout Me" with country singer Randy Travis in a duet. Next to Mahogany, Travis has a small voice, and he doesn't dare scat with the master, but this unlikely yet friendly cultural exchange actually has a lot of charm. That and Mahogany's self-penned, marvelously wry take on the record business, "Fix It in the Mix," indicates that he has a real future as a composer. And of course, the big man displays his strengths with standard ballads like "Nature Boy" and "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," singing with a gentle finesse that recalls Johnny Hartman. Check it out.

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