Irene KralView in iTunes
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A superb ballad singer who always put both plenty of emotion and subtlety into her often haunting interpretations, Irene Kral stood near the top of her field during her shortened life. The younger sister of singer/pianist Roy Kral (of Jackie & Roy), she debuted as a singer with the Jay Burkhardt Big Band. Freelancing in Chicago (including with a vocal group called the Tattle-Tales), Kral spent nine months singing with Maynard Ferguson's big band in 1957. Next up was an association with Herb Pomeroy's Orchestra. After getting married and settling in Los Angeles, Kral did not work for a while. However, from 1974-1977, she recorded three exquisite albums for Choice and Catalyst, including two duet sets with pianist Alan Broadbent (Where Is Love and Gentle Rain), that are considered classics; her rendition of "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most" is definitive. Sadly, Irene Kral was struck down by cancer at the height of her career at age 46. Her recordings (for United Artists in 1959, a 1963 date for Ava, a Mainstream session in 1965, and the Choice and Catalyst albums) are all currently out of print, although a live set from September 1977 put out by Just Jazz in the mid-'90s is available on CD. ~ Scott Yanow