Irene Kral

January 18, 1932 – August 15, 1978

Instrument voice
Birthplace Chicago, IL

Available Leadsheets

Known for her superior renditions of ballads, Irene Kral was one of the top cabaret-jazz singers of the 1970s. Her style was in part influenced by, and often compared to, her close friend Carmen McRae. Her rendition of the standard Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most is considered to be the definitive recording.

Irene grew up in Chicago where was influenced from a young age by her older brother, singer/pianist Roy Kral of the bebop duo Jackie & Roy. By 16, she was performing locally and accompanying herself on piano; she soon debuted with the Jay Burkhardt Big Band. She joined Maynard Ferguson's big band in 1957 and sang with groups led by Stan Kenton, Shelly Manne and Herb Pomeroy. Her work on the Steve Allen show brought more attention, and she began a solo career. Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Al Cohn arranged and conducted her album "Steveireneo!" in 1959.

She recorded on Choice, Catalyst, United Artists, and Mainstream. Irene became more famous posthumously when her recordings were used in Clint Eastwood's "The Bridges Of Madison County."