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On his 4th album for Warner Bros., Kevin Mahogany pulls all the genre stops and pays tribute to those by whom he clearly has been influenced. There's that funky R & B with Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin" with a raucous sax and Larry Golding's organ making the whole thing go. As much as any track, "I Love You More Than You Ever Know" reveals a Mahogany debt to Joe Williams where he and Golding's organ (again) merge to bring a shouter's explication to this blues tune. For those who swoon rapturously with smooth jazz, you'll love "Wild Honey". Nat King Cole's great hit "Nature Boy"gets a jazz treatment, but on this one Mahogany sounds as if he's not convinced he's doing this tune justice. Maybe Nat King Cole's seminal version is running through his head. One of the classic rock anthems of our time, Otis Redding's "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay", has the deep Southern Soul sound to it that Redding attached to this popular song.
As he continues his perusal of the popular music genre, Mahogany is joined by a slew of outstanding instrumentalists. Unfortunately, the copy of the CD I have for review doesn't link the artist with the track they play on. Since "Laura" is from the soundtrack of the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Michael Brecker's solo is recognizable. Golding is alone on organ. It's likely that on the smooth jazz cuts Kirk Whalum has the sax lead. Also Joe Lovano's tenor is quite recognizable on a languid "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat".
In an era where good male singers are at a premium, Mahogany is a star in rather a limited galaxy.
Track Listing: I'm Walkin'; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; Yesterday I Had the Blues; Teach Me Tonight; I Can't Make You Love Me; Nature Boy; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; I Love You More Than You Ever Know; Wild Honey; (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay; Laura
Personnel: Kevin Mahogany - Vocals; Larry Golding - Organ; Peter Bernstein, Larry Carlton - Guitar; Kirk Whalum, Joe Lovano, Michael Brecker - Saxophone; Gregory Hutchinson- Drums; James Weidman, Brad Mehldau , Bob James - Piano; Rodney Whitaker, Larry Grenadier - Bass
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.