• Whispers the Heart
Elefant Dreams 2006
• Dance Delicioso
Elefant Dreams 2005
Elefant Dreams 2004
• A Time For Love
• Big Apple Voices
• Waltz for Debbie
a side musician:
• Cancoes E Momentos
Southern Exposure, 2004
• From Where We Came - Bruce Cale:
A Century of Steps,
• Wonderland - Sam McNally:
First Chance, 1979
CD & Performance Reviews
Reviews and Quotes
-- Whispers the Heart One
sheet Press release
- Dance Delicioso One
sheet Press release UK
- Dance Delicioso One
sheet Press release AUS
- Dance Delicioso One
sheet Press release US
- High res photos:
cover Gail Hadani
Chris McNulty has been moving audiences since her emergence on the international jazz scene in 1985. With a touch of Sarah, a hint of Ella, and a whole lot of vibe, McNulty is blessed with an exquisite instrument. She combines a rich, expressive voice with a deep sense of swing, a natural feel for the blues and an impressive ability to improvise that comes straight from the heart.
NEW!--Visit Chris at CHRIS's MYSPACE page!
She has been hailed by critics in the US as an immense talent whose vocalizing is fearless and composing peerless (Jazz Times, USA, Jan 2007), and a rare find among jazz singers. In the UK she has been hailed as one of the foremost vocalist-composers on the international jazz scene with a voice of serene beauty, striking veracity and compelling emotional fervency (Jazz Wise, UK, Jan 2007), and in her native Australia, as a superb jazz vocalist (West Australian, May 2005) who melds the sounds of jazz, blues, pop and funk into an intensely musical style with a highly professional delivery.
On recordings and in live performance, she spontaneously reconstructs melodies while retaining the essence of the original lyrics. Her repertoire ranges from classic Gershwin and Porter standards to Miles Davis classics and Burt Bacharach chestnuts with an ever increasing focus on her original compositions and lyrics.
Increasingly acknowledged by musicians, peers and critics alike as a jazz vocalist-composer with a unique vision, boundless creative energy and a distinctive style of her own. McNulty's risk-taking, fluid and powerful emotional approach, support, but never compromise her musical sensibilities. As both vocalist and composer, McNulty breaks new ground by simultaneously reinforcing and re-defining the boundaries for jazz vocals. In short, she is a consummate musician with great pitch and control "capable of injecting emotion, pathos, irony & meaning into her work, a gift that few singers can lay claim to.” (George Carroll, The Musicians Ombudsman, Aug 2006). Her compositions have been hailed as rich harmonically, melodically and lyrically and well worthy of the company they keep along side the great standards she continues to interpret and explore.
McNulty first visited New York City in 1985 and settled there in 1988 after being awarded an International Study Grant from the Australia Council. Since then Chris has garnered further accolades from critics, jazz musicians and fans alike, as well as collaborating and performing with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today including: Gary Bartz, Paul Bollenback, Gary Thomas, Mulgrew Miller, Ugonna Okegwo, John Hicks, Frank Wess, Ingrid Jensen, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Tim Garland, Tom Lellis, Billy Hart, Ed Howard, Jeff Ballard, Dave Pietro, Joe Locke, Peter Leitch, Tineke Postma, James Genus, Matt Wilson, Jeff “Tain” Watts, David “Fathead” Newman, George Mraz, Kenny Washington, Steve Wilson, Joel Frahm, Gary Versace, Dean Johnson, Ted Rosenthal, David Budway, Harvey S and Tony Reedus.
Chris’s debut recording in the States, Waltz For Debby (Discovery 1990), received outstanding reviews in several publications and features the official published lyric by Chris of the great Miles Davis classic, “Blue in Green.” In 1994 Chris was also honored to be selected as one of the six exceptional new jazz singers on the New York scene to be featured on the Venus recording, “Big Apple Voices”. She has gone on to record several CD’s since then, A Time for Love (Amosaya 1996), I Remember You (Elefant Dreams/Mop Top 2004, Dance Delicioso (Elefant Dreams 2005) and her most recently released Whispers the Heart (Elefant Dreams 2006). Her development over this period of time from lyricist to full fledged composer has been duly noted in major press reviews and articles.
In between raising her only son Sam, Chris has managed to maintain an active profile and presence on the international scene. Her touring schedule has taken her to all four corners of the globe and includes appearances at BAM’s presentation of the first Australian Arts Festival held at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts, Brooklyn, NYC in 2001. She toured Russia with Paul Bollenback in 2002, 2003 and appeared in 2004 for the very first St Petersburg Jazz Festival. Their magnetic and captivating performances have led to ever increasing festival dates around the world. Following the release of her highly acclaimed Dance Delicioso, Chris returned from successful festival appearances in both the UK and Ireland including the Brecon Festival in Wales and the Kilkenny Arts Festival in Ireland. Along with national radio features throughout the States, UK, Ireland and Europe, her music has also been a major feature in Australia on ABC’s nationally broadcast program, “The Nightly Planet.” Dance Delicioso and Whispers the Heart have received major attention in the press and on radio world wide, both making it onto the pre-nomination ballot for a Grammy nomination the last 2 years respectively. On Paul Bollenback’s 6th release Brightness of Being, released March 2006, Chris’ vocalese work is featured amongst a stellar cast of jazz luminaries including David “Fathead” Newman, Tim Garland, Gary Thomas, Terri-Lyne Carrington, James Genus and Ari Hoenig.
McNulty’s 6th release in the States, Whispers the Heart, features several new outstanding original works and arrangements including a string quartet written by Chris, along with featured guests including jazz great Frank Wess, Ingrid Jensen, Paul Bollenback (Paul also shares executive and co-producing credits), Ed Howard, Dave Pietro, Tineke Postma, Gary Versace, Matt Wilson, Rogerio Boccato and Montez Coleman. www.elefantdreams.com. Her Guest Clinician article "On the Road" is featured in Jazz Ed Magazine in their January 2007 issue. Chris also makes regular appearances at Mike’s Master Classes on-line at www.mikesmasterclasses.com
Chris McNulty has lived in NYC since 1988. She maintains an active touring schedule. Her 2006-2007 calendar includes festival and club appearances in Australia, UK, Ireland, Europe and Russia. Chris will also be on tour on the West Coast, USA in mid-April and will be making a NYC appearance at the Kitano on March 22nd, 2007 with her quartet.
On her 6th release,Whispers the Heart
(Elefant Dreams 2006 ED4549), McNulty has once again hand picked a veritable who's who from the contemporary jazz scene, along with an appearance by tenor sax great Frank Wess, who contributes an exquisite solo on the Bacharach/David tune “Make It Easy On Yourself”. From the opening tune to the very last you will be reminded over and over again of just how much passion, heart and musical savvy this vocalist-composer infuses into everything she sings.
Along with her co-producing partner Paul Bollenback, who shares the stage with Chris on several stunning ballads as well as contributing several arrangements, this recording also features the work of Ingrid Jensen, Dave Pietro, Tineke Postma (Holland), Ed Howard, Matt Wilson, Rogerio Boccato, Gary Versace and Montez Coleman.
The recording kicks off with Bollenback’s hard swinging arrangement of Michel Legrand’s “Summer Me, Winter Me”, and melts into a stunning rendition of McNulty's arrangement of “Make It Easy On Yourself”. “Come Rain or Shine” follows in a similar hard grooving fashion to the opening track, ending as a shuffle romp with McNulty’s voice wailing over the top. “Springosphere”, one of several McNulty originals, features her string quartet arrangement and is just as the title suggests, an exuberant, uplifting and powerful statement both compositionally and lyrically. Both renditions of “If You Never Come” and “How Deep Is the Ocean” shine, attesting to why McNulty is so highly regarded for her ballad singing. “Quiet Your Thoughts” opens with an ethereal quality featuring horns and voice exchanging simple melodic variations and works its way into a shifting Latin groove. The album ends with the magnificent Thad Jones composition, “When Love Was You And Me (Summary)” performed as a duet in the most intimate of settings, highlighting the exquisite chemistry between McNulty and Bollenback. As passionate and stirring as it is ground breaking in style and originality. Whispers the Heart was selected by the Jazz Journalist Association critic, Nancy Barrell as one of the Top 10 recordings of 2006 and has received wide international acclaim in both press and on radio.
Chris was born in Melbourne, Australia
and spent her early career touring Australia and South
East Asia, cutting her teeth on music ranging from pop
to Funk and
R&B. In 1976 after returning from a long stint on the road, at the age
of 22 Chris discovered the great American jazz singers: Sarah Vaughn, Billie
Holiday, Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson. Her earlier influences had been Stevie
Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Marlena Shaw, Donny Hathaway, Yes, Marvin
Gaye, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett. However upon hearing Billie Holiday
and Sarah Vaughn, Chris’s career began to take a very different direction.
It was at this time that she began to establish herself as a solo singer with
a distinct style and great versatility.
1978 Chris had co-formed her first jazz ensemble in Melbourne
with the noted pianist/composer Paul Grabowsky, who now
heads the Australian Art Orchestra. At the same time Chris continued
to work in the studio for all the top Australian songwriters
on film, jingle and recording dates. Chris continued
to expand as a jazz vocalist throughout this period. She led various
ensembles performing at all the top jazz venues throughout
Australia and worked with the cream of Australia’s
jazz musicians. During this period, Chris also performed
on all the major national television variety shows in Australia,
including Bert Newton’s Tonight Show, Steve Vizard,
Ray Martin and Mike Walsh and the Sunday Program.
first solo recording in the States, entitled Waltz for Debby received
a stunning review in Cadence, the New York Industry magazine. On this CD,
Chris was backed by a stellar rhythm section: George
Washington, and the Australian pianist, Paul McNamara. For the recording,
Chris wrote and sang lyrics to the great Miles Davis composition “Blue
in Green.” She
received the published lyric contract for the tune, and her version is
now the official English language lyric.
collaborated with the masterful guitarist Peter Leitch
on her second recording, A Time for Love.
It was released on Amosaya Records in 1995. This recording also
featured two jazz greats: Gary Bartz and John Hicks, along
with jazz journeymen Harvie S, Tony Reedus, Rob Bargad
and Jed Levy. The recording received reviews and airplay on several
national radio programs and made the regular playlist at
WBGO-FM in Newark, America’s premier jazz radio station.
It stayed on rotation at WBGO for several months, attracting
raves from jazz fans as well as musicians.
Remember You, features
arrangements in collaboration with the brilliant guitarist Paul Bollenback.
This recording includes several re-harmonized standards from the great
American songbook along with more recent material from 60’s and
as well as original composition by Chris.
For this new recording, vibes master Joe Locke contributes a magical arrangement of the Bacharach tune “This
Girl’s in Love.” Chris puts her own inimitable
stamp on the other Bacharach tune featured on this recording, “A
House is Not a Home” and turns in a wonderfully unique
performance both as an arranger and composer on her haunting
McNulty/Bollenback collaboration has led to several extremely
successful tours both within and without the United States
reaching audiences as far and wide as St. Petersburg and
Moscow and Melbourne and Sydney. In the summer of 2003 Bollenback
and McNulty were invited to perform at the White Night’s
Jazz Festival to celebrate St. Petersburg’s 300th Anniversary.
In Moscow they have been invited for several return visits
to the premier jazz club, part owned and run by the great
tenor saxophonist, Igor Butman. In 2004 Chris appears as
backing vocalist on the great Tom Lellis’s much hailed
recording, Southern Exposure. Later on this year she will
also appear as backing vocalist on a Gary Bartz’s recording
Bollenback/McNulty collaboration also continues to produce
some wonderfully unique and cutting edge compositions. The
focus on blending the sonic beauty of voice and guitar has
become the main stay of their performances of late. A recent
stint at The Artist’s Quarter in St. Paul, left the
Chris’ original works are attracting quite a deal
of attention amongst several of New York’s leading
jazz musicians, Chris will, of course, continue to reinvent
songs from the Great American Song Book. Her many talents
as a hard-swinging post-bop singer, balladeer, and interpreter
of old and new standards will continue to attract audiences
in New York, Australia, and plenty of places in between. •
Dance Delicioso (Elefant Dreams, July 2005), McNulty’s 5th CD as a leader, showcases her risk-taking, fluid, and strongly emotional approach. The CD features five McNulty originals including her alluring title track Dance Delicioso which crosses over between storytelling, world music sensibility and top-notch jazz improvisation. Her poignant portrayals of her original “Last Farewell ” and the Irish folk ballad “He Moves Through The Fair ” are delicately woven among jump-for-joy versions of the classic standards “All of You” and “Star Eyes ”. The truly trance-like “Meaning of the Blues ” serves as the thread to round out this remarkable listening experience.
As jazz critic Bill Milkowski says of this CD: “A soulful vocalist with a soaring, sensuous quality, a sly, seasoned delivery and natural sense of swing, Chris McNulty imparts her own unique magic interpreting jazz standards, as she showcased so confidently on last year‘s Remember You. On Dance Delicioso, the Australian-born singer showcases more of her own considerable songwriting prowess… McNulty distinguishes herself as one of the elite jazz singers on the scene...” The CD features an all-star cast of players including Gary Bartz on alto sax, Gary Thomas on tenor sax, Billy Hart on drums, Mulgrew Miller on piano, Paul Bollenback on guitars, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, David Budway on piano, Dave Pietro on soprano/also sax, John Di Martino on piano, Sonny Barbato on accordion, Eric Friedlander on cello, and Café da Silva on percussion, as well as a vocal group.
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