Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

258

Irene Kral: Kral Space

Mathew Bahl By

Sign in to view read count
Perhaps the great lost jazz singer of her generation, Irene Kral’s career was cruelly cut short by her untimely death from breast cancer on August 15, 1978 at age 46. The younger sister of Roy Kral of Jackie & Roy fame, Irene Kral started her career in the 1950s. She sang on the road with various bands including those of Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Shelly Manne. She recorded a few albums the best of which was the aptly titled Better Than Anything (1963). Marriage, children and the radical changes in the music business that occurred in the early 1960s led to Ms. Kral’s early retirement in 1965.

However, beginning in late 1974, Irene Kral returned to performing. Stronger, more confident, and more subtle than ever, she recorded two breathtakingly beautiful albums accompanied only by Alan Broadbent on piano, Where is Love? and Gentle Rain. She also recorded this collection, Kral Space, with a quartet led by Mr. Broadbent. All three albums earned Ms. Kral Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.

Always impeccably in tune, Irene Kral had a dry, resonant alto which she deployed to devastating effect. Her art was in her phrasing, which was aided by perfect diction and marked by her tendency to elongate her vowels. She could swing with the best of them, but no matter how fast the tempo, the lyrics always remained intact and their meaning driven home. Yet, it is the quiet intensity of her ballads that lingers most in the mind. Eschewing melodrama and sentimentality, Ms. Kral seemed to cut to the very core of a lyric and communicate its essence. Her work earned her the respect and admiration of musicians and fellow singers. The incomparable Carmen McRae once said, “I used to steal all her songs because, along with being one of the finest singers in the whole entire world, she had great taste in songs.” Ms. Kral not only drew on superb, often overlooked standards from the Great American Songbook, but she also championed the work of the jazz-influenced songwriters of her own generation – Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough, Blossom Dearie, Tommy Wolf, Fran Landesman, and Johnny Mandel.

All of Irene Kral’s talents are wonderfully displayed on Kral Space and the music is recommended without hesitation. Unfortunately, the record label has done an inexcusably sloppy job in the remastering and the sound at various points in the CD is slightly distorted. Still, any addition to Ms. Kral’s slim representation on compact disc will be welcome news to her many fans.


Title: Kral Space | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Intakt Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Where is Love?

Where is Love?

ChoiCe/Candid
2003

buy
 

Karal Space

Collectables
2001

buy
 

Kral Space

Intakt Records
2000

buy
 

You Are There

Audiophile Imports
2000

buy

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "There Is A Place" CD/LP/Track Review There Is A Place
by Chris May
Published: November 1, 2018
Read "Where We Stand" CD/LP/Track Review Where We Stand
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 23, 2018
Read "Flaneur" CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Kavuma" CD/LP/Track Review Kavuma
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 12, 2018
Read "Welcome to the Club" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to the Club
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: July 30, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 30, 2018