Kevin Mahogany’s last night performance in the Kennedy Center was enjoyable but not as ecstatic as the first time I saw him at Jazz in the Valley in West Park, New York. His gruff, husky voice hasn’t changed, but the band, The Godfathers of Groove, accompanied him didn’t hold up. The trio group consisted of Grant Green Jr. on guitar, J.T. Lewis on drums and Reuben Wilson on Hammond B3 organ. Personally, I prefer the piano to the organ. The major drawback was no thumping double bass to accommodate Mahogany’s hypnotic low register.
The Godfathers of Groove opens the show with an instrumental number and Kathy Kosins whose voice sounds like Diana Krall but less smoky sang two Kansas City blues, included “You Turned Your Back on Me.” She introduced Mahogany to the stage and he kicked off with him own blues tune called, “Kansas City Born and Bred.” He performed a handful of Kansas, shouting blues including “Centerpiece,” in which he scatted the entire B section. My favorite piece is “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” in which he sang with a soulful, gospel feel. There was also a medley that started in slow blues, but progressed in triple tempo. The best part was when he invited Kosins to join him for a scat duet.
The show was an hour and a half long, but it went by so fast. Mahogany was quite a funny man and he made us laughing in between the songs. I copped his live recording of Mahogany sings Hartman after the show. By the way, the Kennedy Center was gorgeous, and looking down to DC at night in the rain was a wonderful experience.