Irene Kral: Second Chance - JazzWax

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October 13, 2010


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Larry Kart

I think I know what you mean by "maternal." And as much as I admire Kral, I would add "increasingly studied-sounding with the passage of time," kind of a cabaret-music vision of what a jazz singer would/should be like, rather willed and "jazzy." In this, I think that Carmen McRae's undoubted though understandable influence on Kral (their voice types were similar) was not all to the good. In any case, I much prefer early Kral -- the things she did with Ferguson and especially that album with Herb Pomeroy. There she's just flying.

O'Sullivan, "Red"

...rather Kral creates her own world: I don't hear a studied quality, rather a depth and a weight that might be comprable to Carmen, but with a tonal beauty unique and profound...
My own favourites are "Where Is Love" of course (I think the definitive album), but also "Kral Space", where the indispensible Broadbent is joined by Fred Atwood and Nick Ceroli (as well as Emil Richards), is a close second. Anyone like to say whether this new release is as good as "Kral Space"?
("Live at The Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay", is another recording in the same piano/bass/drums format and, really, her performance alongside Jack Sheldon on Shelly Manne's amazing big band version of "My Fair Lady" quite wonderful. That's a particularly amazing record - Don Sleet and the great Charlie Kennedy on alto... always dug him!).

O'Sullivan, "Red"

Maybe, also, what emerges with the passage of time, is that this recorded legacy of Broadbent and Kral is one of the more important and siginficant unions of singer and musican that there's ever been... that is, if you're into beauty...

Moreen Murray

"Where is Love" is one of the most exquisite albums ever - a personal favourite of mine. The art of subtlety, intimacy, warmth and restraint. I aspire to this level of performing in my upcoming vocal workshop and lessons!

Larry Kart

All of us may know this, but check out Kral's superb early '60s performance of George Handy's "Forgetful," with Shelly Manne's quintet, from the TV show "Frankly Jazz":

Talk about a tricky song to sing! But Kral not only nails it, she inhabits it.

Bruce Armstrong

Right after I moved to Los Angeles in 1963 to attend college I went to "Shelly's Manne Hole" to hear Shelly's quintet ("The Men") and had one of the greatest nights of "live" jazz I have ever heard. Jack Sheldon & Joe Maini were sitting in for the usual front-line of Conte Candoli & Richie Kamuca and featured on vocals was Irene Kral. Like you, Marc, I only knew Irene from the Maynard Ferguson recording, and hearing her sing intimate ballads that evening was a true revelation. I collected everything I could get my hands on over the years, saw her perform at numerous L.A. clubs, and even had the opportunity to meet her once through Dennis Smith. Irene was the greatest.

Doug Zielke

Larry Kart said:
"....increasingly studied-sounding with the passage of time...."
Even if this comment is true, does this in any way diminish these wonderful recordings? I think not. Not one bit!
Thanks to Jazzed Media for making it possible.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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