Irene Kral

The Band and I

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The Band and I Review

by Jason Ankeny

The Band and I pairs Irene Kral with Ernie Wilkins and Al Cohn, whose energetic, robust arrangements capture a dimension of the singer rarely glimpsed on record -- upbeat and persuasive, with little of the spectral melancholy that hangs over her later, more familiar sessions. The titular backing unit in question, led by trumpeter Herb Pomeroy, expertly bridges the gap between traditional big band and modern-era jazz, creating a soulful, lightly swinging showcase that inspires Kral to deliver some of her most appealing performances -- cuts like "This Little Love" and "I'd Know You Anywhere" boast a radiance sadly absent from subsequent sessions.

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