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Irene Kral

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Irene Kral was not just another jazz singer. She had a delicate style, yet every note was placed with deliberate aim, and she always hit her mark with unerring accuracy. She had a brilliant flair for picking tasty, little-known material, often by up and coming young, jazz-influenced songwriters. She recorded only a small number of albums, often on small, jazz labels and she never sang in a show-off way, never scatted, never belted or raunched out her voice. Most aficionados of female vocalists have never heard of her, and she remains largely forgotten in the jazz history books. Yet her work deserves to be searched out, for her intimate style and purity of tone. Irene Kral was born to Czechoslovakian parents on Jan

News: Video / DVD

Irene Kral: Live in 1977

Irene Kral: Live in 1977

In 1975 and '78, singer Irene Kral released what were arguably her finest small-group albums—Where Is Love and Gentle Rain, respectively, for the Choice label. She was accompanied only by pianist Alan Broadbent. [Photo above of Irene Kral with daughters Jodi, left and Melissa, from Being Irene Kral's Daughter by Jodi Burnett] A month after the ...

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Article: Radio

Funk in a Deep Freeze

Read "Funk in a Deep Freeze" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


For the Sunday of the Women's March we played new releases by pianist Judy Night, flutist Magela Herrara, Judy Bisantz, Bob Levy and saxophonist Carol Sudhalter with birthday shout outs to Eartha Kitt, Irene Kral, Jose James, Cheryl Bentyne, Peter Eldridge, Sade, and Dolly Parton, among others. Playlist Pam Fleming “Keep It Movin" from ...

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Article: Radio

Birthdays Make Strange Bedfellows

Read "Birthdays Make Strange Bedfellows" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin


Many common birthdays in this broadcast. In the second hour, Laura Nyro shares her day with hipster Bobby Troup, who celebrates his centennial this month; followed by a shout-out to Dizzy Gillespie, born the same day as Beat poet Fran Landesman, whose songs will be highlighted in the final hour. Playlist Miggy Augmented Orchestra ...

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Article: Interview

Alan Broadbent: Intimate Reflections on a Passion for Jazz

Read "Alan Broadbent: Intimate Reflections on a Passion for Jazz" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Pianist, composer, and arranger Alan Broadbent doesn't just “dig" jazz. He has a deep and enduring passion for it. Growing up in mid- 20th-century New Zealand, he quickly went beyond piano lessons to reading musical scores and learning jazz standards. Then, when the Dave Brubeck Quartet came to his relatively isolated hometown of Auckland, his love ...

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Article: Live Review

Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café

Read "Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Mary Ellen Desmond with the Victor North Quintet Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA February 3, 2018 It was the Saturday night before the Superbowl kickoff, and the crowds were out and about in Philadelphia with a “Go Eagles" attitude. A full house crowded into Chris' Jazz Café to hear their vocalist ...

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Article: Album Review

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent: Songbook

Read "Songbook" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Twenty years ago Georgia Mancio, the London-based singer and songwriter, began listening to pianist Alan Broadbent's recordings with Irene Kral. In 2013 the pair began working together as a duo after Mancio sent Broadbent a message “on a whim." In 2015 and 2016 they recorded together and Songbook is the result: a dozen original compositions--music by ...

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Article: Album Review

Sara Bielanski: From the Heart

Read "From the Heart" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


This is vocalist Sara Bielanski's debut album, and for it she brought together a group of fine musicians with connections to the Berklee School of Music and The New England Conservatory, institutions where for well over more than a half-century many of our most outstanding players have gotten their jump start. Bielanski herself is a fine ...

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Article: Interview

Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song

Read "Joanna Pascale: To Tell a Story in Song" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Among jazz vocalists, there are two main categories: those who belt out a tune with flourish, ornamentation, punctuation, and improvising known as “scat." Ella Fitzgerald is the prime representative of that approach. Then there are those who omit the superfluous, carefully crafting every word and note, bringing out the underlying emotions. Think of Billie Holiday. Joanna ...

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Article: Album Review

Alan Broadbent And NDR Bigband: America The Beautiful

Read "America The Beautiful" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


In the brief liner essay that accompanies America The Beautiful, pianist Alan Broadbent notes that he has “an aversion to being clever," but the rest of the music world never received that memo. Everybody from Irene Kral to Diana Krall and Charlie Haden to Charlie Rich has benefited from his brilliance with a pen and/or a ...


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