Kevin Mahogany (w/WDR Big Band, Knepper, McPherson, Mackrel): Pussy Cat Dues (The Music Of Charles Mingus)
Vocalist Kevin Mahogany applies his unique gifts to the eternalized aura of the late Charles Mingus on this new release titled, Pussy Cat Dues (The Music Of Charles Mingus) featuring ex-Mingus sidemen: trombonist Jimmy Knepper and alto saxophonist Charles McPherson. And along with the “WDR Big Band under the direction of Bill Dobbins and ex-Count Basie drummer Dennis Mackrel - Mingus’ music receives yet another facelift; although you may not notice anything that suggests a revelation here, especially when considering the incessant efforts of the time-honored “Mingus Big Band”. Yet, Mahogany’s lush, poignant and soulful renderings of “Eclipse”, “Portrait”, Pussy Cat Dues and others, propagate a glimmering sense of depth and fulfillment. Basically, Mahogany’s acute lyricism often counterbalances the warm overtones and multi-textured horn charts.
The “WDR” Big Band stretches in laudable fashion on the twenty-minute “Mingus Medley” featuring Bill Dobbins’ bold, brassy arrangements of “Boogie Stop Shuffle”, “Jelly Roll”, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Better Git Hit In Your Soul”. Through it all, McPherson and Knepper take their fare share of soloing opportunities as the proceedings and overall production works out rather well. However, Mahogany’s refined elegance provides the winning edge as he extracts the inherent harmonies, hooks and melodies out of these revered Mingus classics.
* * * ½ (out of * * * * *)
Kevin Mahogany; Vocals: Charles McPherson; Alto Saxophone: Jimmy Knepper; Trombone: Dennis Mackrel; Drums: The