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Kevin Mahogany seems to have been focusing on very specific themes for his last three albums. My Romance dealt strictly with love songs and Pussy Cat Dues was dedicated to the music of Charles Mingus. Now for his first album for Telarc, the singer takes his rich baritone voice to the land of Motown's sophisticated R & B, honing in on a play list that recalls that style's heyday of the 1960's and 1970's, adding a jazz inflection to the music. The scene is set with Mahogany joined by a quartet of singers for A Capella rendition of Stevie Wonder's classic "Signed, Sealed,.Delivered I'm Yours" with Mahogany engaging in considerable wordless vocalizing. More A Capella comes with an enthusiastic, but somewhat lurching and overly busy, "Reach Out I'll Be There". Sometimes simple is better, especially when the singer has such a powerful, passionate voice like Mahogany's. The swinging, up beat offering of Marvin Gaye's "Pride and Joy", where the singer is backed by a strong quintet of instrumentalists led by Jon Faddis, is closer to the Motown most of us are likely to remember. Other Motown legends who are remembered on this mostly entertaining CD are Smokey Robinson, Barrett Strong and Jim Weatherly. Weatherly's lovely ballad "Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)", is one of the more engrossing tracks on the album with the fine Dave Stryker guitar providing the main support. Mahogany's voice is in fine fettle on this disc, which is recommended. Visit Mahogany at www.jazzsinger.com .
Track Listing: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours; Pride and Joy; I Can't Get Next to You; Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye); The Tears of a Clown; Reach Out I'll Be There; My world Is empty Without You; Never Can Say Goodbye; She's Out of My Life; The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game; Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)
Personnel: Kevin Mahogany, Gregory Clark, Todd Johnson, Gerald Trottman, Peter Eldridge - Vocals; Jon Faddis - Trumpet; James Weideman - Piano; Dave Stryker - Guitar; Melissa Slocum - Bass; Charles Haynes - Drums/Telephone Books; Don Alias - Percussion
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.