The previous post was about lilacs, not Irene Kral, but it brought comments clearly indicating that Ms. Kral (1932-1978) is far from forgotten. She is forgotten least of all by her daughters, Jodi and Melissa. Jodi Burnett
sent one of the comments. Melissa is seen on the right in her mother’s arms as Irene rehearses with Bob Dorough. This was in Chicago in the mid-1960s.
A vocalist admired for the purity of her voice and her musicianship, Irene was the sister of Roy Kral of the Jackie and Roy vocal duo. Her career began in her hometown of Chicago when she was 16. Early on, she worked briefly with the Woody Herman and Chubby Jackson bands and later with Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton and Herb Pomeroy. In the early 1960s she was featured with Shelly Manne and his Men during the period when the drummer owned the Los Angeles club Shelly’s Manne Hole. In a kinescope from Frank Evans’ television show Frankly Speaking, she demonstrates the control and expressiveness that made her one of the best slow singers ever. Evans takes care of a little program business on his way to introducing her, but she’s worth waiting for. Her accompanists are Manne, drums; Russ Freeman, piano; and Monty Budwig, bass. Over closing credits, you also see and hear Conte Candoli, trumpet, and Richie Kamuca, tenor saxophone.
Toward the end of her short life, Ms. Kral had a productive musical partnership with Alan Broadbent. Their albums, including this one, remain high on anyone’s list of singer-pianist collaborations.