Irene Kral was only in her mid-forties when she lost her battle with cancer. Decades after her death in 1978, Jazzed Media has uncovered additional unissued live recordings to follow their previous collection Just for Now (issued in 2004). These performances also were taped in 1975, but at a different venue (the Times restaurant) with another rhythm section. Pianist Alan Broadbent is the perfect accompanist for the rich-voiced, clear-toned alto, while her choice of material is a fascinating mix of standards, obscurities, and modern pop. She opens with an invigorating, spirited interpretation of "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes." Kral savors the longing of the lyrics to the bittersweet ballad "Never Let Me Go," which is buoyed by Broadbent's sensitive backing. The South American song "Sometime Ago" was a favorite of Art Farmer and a number of other jazz instrumentalists (though they usually chose a bright tempo), but Kral's very deliberate interpretation brings out the essence of its message in a new light. The pop songs include Leon Russell's "This Masquerade" (a hit for George Benson) and folksinger Tim Hardin's lesser-known "Misty Roses," both rendered in soft bossa nova settings. Peter Marshall (who was subbing for Kral's regular bassist) and drummer Frank Severino round out the superb rhythm section. One can only hope that additional recordings by Irene Kral will be located to join this outstanding CD in her discography.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden