Kevin Mahogany is a singer in definite ascendance. The ranks of male jazz vocalists are quite thin, particularly alongside their female opposite. Mahogany, the big man from Kansas City with the commanding stage presence, is blessed with an instrument that will never overwhelm but will always deliver the goods in reliable doses. There is an elegance in his sound. Here that artistry is on display in a program of largely standards, and he clearly deals in understatement this time out. There is a sense of relaxation in the way Kevin delivers this program; he's in no rush and he wants to allow you the opportunity to luxuriate in these tunes. No tricks, no lusty scat choruses, just singing from the well of his chest for the joy of the song.
Mahogany works with an understated cast that includes Bob James on piano, Charles Fambrough on bass, Billy Kilson on drums, and guest tenormen Kirk Whalum and Michael Brecker. Befitting his KC blues heritage, the big man loves the blues, and she hears his cry, as illustrated best on "I Know You Know." There's a sublime tenderness in the way Mahogany can deliver a ballad that will serve him well as his talent further ripens.