Irene Kral: Second Chance (2011)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Singer Irene Kral (1932-1978) communicated with her audience through more than just music; she could make everyone in the room believe in what she had to say and take the message home with them for keeps. Recorded in 1975, this program of jazz standards features a nightclub performance with vocalist, acoustic piano trio and swirling emotions.
The lyrics of "Second Chance," by Andre Previn and Dory Langdon Previn, make it clear that she believed in letting her feelings tell the story. All of her work came loaded with that kind of sincere expression; Kral knew how to persuade.
On this release of ballads and up-tempo romps, the singer fills the room with her message. Piano, double-bass and drums give her plenty of support, but it's a singer's session and Kral is the star. She delivers funny lines, such as the Tommy Wolf, Fran Landesman ditty, "It Isn't So Good It Couldn't Be Worse" as well as classic love ballads such as "Never Let Me Go" and "This Masquerade," which both move dramatically with purpose.
Kral is at her best with lyrics. Some wordless fill gives the program an aside, and brief instrumental bridges span one chorus to another with seamless integrity. Frank Severino's stand-out brushwork and Alan Broadbent's wholesome piano cascades add substance to the session, but it's Kral's way with words that lead to her remarkable success. Of course, the music drives much of the program, as in Bob Dorough's brisk "Unlit Room," where rhythm keeps it interesting, and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," where walking bass and a classic jazz trio heartbeat help drive the message. Kral is in the best of company here and her performance stands out as a fine remembrance of her being one of the greatest jazz singers.
Track Listing: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes; Second Chance; Something to Remember You By; Misty Roses; A Time for Love/Small World, Isn't It?; Oh You Crazy Moon; Never Let Me Go; It Isn't So Good It Couldn't Get Better; Sometime Ago; Unlit Room; Star Eyes; This Masquerade; Something In Your Smile/When I Look in Your Eyes; Nobody Else But Me.
Personnel: Irene Kral: vocals; Alan Broadbent: piano; Peter Marshall: bass; Frank Severino: drums.
Record Label: Jazzed Media