Musician Kevin Mahogany Dies at Age 59 – Jazz Vocalist, Kansas City

American jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany died at age 59.  At this time, a cause of death has not been reported.

At 11:30AM, 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.”

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Alex Skolnick: “Sad news. I once went to hear him as a fan of his guitarist, Dave Stryker (who’s awesome) & was unfamiliar up ‘til then. Was completely knocked out by that voice. RIP”
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Mahogany rose to success in the ’90s and released over a dozen albums, including recordings under the Warner Bros. and Telarc imprints.

Mahogany played the piano, clarinet and baritone saxophone before he started singing in high school. He played saxophone on his first professional gig with Eddie Baker’s New Breed Orchestra. Mahogany studied with local jazz legend Ahmad Aladeen at the Charlie Parker Academy, and matriculated at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, where he formed a jazz vocal choir and earned a BFA in Music, English and Drama in 1981. He returned home and joined a nine-piece horn band called Robinson-Pike. He later formed two R&B-centric bands; The Apollos and Mahogany. In1991, he toured with the NRE Trio, and was featured on pianist Frank Mantooth’s 1993 CD, Dangerous Precedent.

That same year, Mahogany released his debut recording, Double Rainbow, was released on the Enja label in 1993. Specializing in performing and seldom-heard songs, the stylistic range of Mahogany’s recordings range from the kinetic big band bravura of Pussy Cat Dues: The Music of Charles Mingus; which featured Mingus sidemen trombonist Jimmy Knepper, alto saxophonist Charles MacPherson with the WDR Big Band, to Pride and Joy, his ebullient Motown tribute featuring the music of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

In addition to being a trend-setting leader of the first order, Mahogany has also been an in-demand sideman and guest artist with a select cadre of jazz stars. He’s recorded with T.S. Monk (Monk on Monk), The Ray Brown Trio (Christmas Songs With Ray Brown), Marlena Shaw (Dangerous), Roseanna Vitro (Passion Dance), Carl Allen (Testimonial), Barbara Morrison (Visit Me) and Elvin Jones (It Don’t Mean A Thing).

Mahogany is also an exceptional master teacher, as evidenced by his well-received work teaching at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Miami. He received an Honorary Degree from his alma mater, Baker University, in 2001.

In 1996, Mahogany made his screen debut in the 1996 Robert Altman film Kansas City, portraying a character based on blues singer Big Joe Turner, and was also featured on soundtrack.

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