Chris McNulty

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Tunes by Chris McNulty


Since her emergence on the international jazz scene in 1985, Chris McNulty has increasingly been acknowledged by musicians, peers and critics alike as a jazz vocalist-composer with a unique vision, boundless creative energy and a distinctive style. 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. Her risktaking, fluid and powerful emotional approach, support but never compromise her musical sensibilities. McNulty's recordings and live performances continue to re-define and stretch the boundaries of jazz vocal music. Her treatment of songs as varied as "Meaning of the Blues" and "One Less Bell to Answer" are testament to her ability to draw listeners in, often creating a trance like atmosphere for her audiences. Recent years have seen a steady rise in her popularity due to a string of very strong recordings and highly favorable reviews, while maintaining a solid and consistent presence on the international touring scene. A consummate vocalist 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 both 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 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, Peter Quinn (Jazz Wise, UK, Jan 2007) wrote "one of the foremost vocalist-composers on the international jazz scene with a voice of serene beauty, striking veracity and compelling emotional fervency..", 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 and who spontaneously reconstructs melodies while retaining the essence of the original lyrics. McNulty first visited New York City in 1985 and settled there in 1988 after being awarded an International Study Grant from the Australia Council. She has collaborated, recorded and performed with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today. 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 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”. McNulty has gone on to record several CD’s since then, A Time for Love (Amosaya 1996), I Remember You (Elefant Dreams 2004), Dance Delicioso (Elefant Dreams 2005), Whispers the Heart (Elefant Dreams 2006), "The Song That Sings You Here" (Challenge International 2013). Dance Delicioso, Whispers the Heart & The Song That Sings You Here were coproduced with colleague and guitarist, Paul Bollenback. All three albums feature original works and arrangements by McNulty. Bollenback shares arranging credits on several tracks. "Whispers the Heart" was also voted one of the Top Ten album releases of 2006 by the JJA (Jazz Journalists Association), Nancy Barrell. In May 2013 Chris was awarded the prestigious Australian Bell Award for Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album for "The Song That Sings You Here." McNulty also lends her vocalese skills to Paul Bollenback’s Brightness of Being, (2007) & "Invocation" (2008). As a soloist and background vocalist, Chris joins her late son, Sam McNulty (aka Chap One) on the unique and masterfully crafted, hip hop meets jazz, album "Strange Frequencies," released posthumously on vinyl and CD March 19th, 2012. In 2012, Chris began preparations to publish a 3 book series - “Vocalist As Complete Musician” A methodology developed specifically for vocalists, the study incorporates jazz harmony, improvisation, ear training and theory by utilizing tetra chords and exploring their use over scales and chords (publishing 2014). McNulty augments her international touring with clinic and workshop presentations and has been invited to present clinics and workshops at Monash University (Melbourne, Vic); Griffith University (Brisbane, QLD); A.I.M (Sydney NSW); WAAPA -West Australian Academy for Performing Arts (Perth, WA); University of Adelaide (Adelaide, SA). Originally hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Chris McNulty has resided in NYC since 1988. She maintains an active touring schedule and performing wit her "Magic Trio" featuring McNulty, Bollenback and Ugonna Okegwo. In January 2013, Chris teamed up with gifted Australian composer-orchestrator, Steve Newcomb and pianist-arranger, John Di Martino to collaborate on chamber orchestra project to be released some time in 2014. The album also features Australian Mathew Jodrill on trumpet/flugel, Ugonna Okegwo, bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums. Her touring calendar includes festival and concert appearances in Australia, UK, Ireland, Europe and Russia including: UK: Edinburgh Jazz Festival (2009), Dundee Jazz Festival (2009), Brecon Jazz Festival (2007), Wakefield Jazz & Swansea Jazz clubs, Pizza on the Park, Pizza Express, London (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010). Ireland: Kilkenny Arts Festival (2006), The Pendulum, Dublin (2005, 2006), Australia: Melbourne Jazz Festival (2007), Stonnington Jazz Festival (2009), Bennetts Lane (2002, 2010, 2012, 2013), The Ellington Jazz Club, The Round House Theater & Perth Jazz Society (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). SIMA & Venue 505, Sydney (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Wangaratta Jazz Festival (2013). Russia: St. Petersburg's - White Night's Festival (2004) Kharkov Jazz Fest (Ukraine - 2008), Petrozavodsk Jazz Festival, Arkhangelsk Jazz Festival (2010), Germany: Ludwigshafen Jazz Festival (2012), Munster, Marburg. McNulty has performed and/or recorded with - USA: Paul Bollenback, Gary Bartz, Gary Thomas, Mulgrew Miller, Ugonna Okegwo, Marcus Gilmore, John Hicks, Frank Wess, Ingrid Jensen, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Billy Hart, Ed Howard, Jeff Ballard, Dave Pietro, Joe Locke, Peter Leitch, Tineke Postma (Holland), Jeff “Tain” Watts, James Genus, Matt Wilson, Montez Coleman, Adam Cruz, Don Braden, George Mraz, Kenny Washington, Joel Frahm, Gary Versace, David Budway, John Di Martino, Harvey S, Jed Levy, Dean Johnson, Ted Rosenthal, and the late, Tony Reedus. Russia: Andrei Kondakov and Igor Butman. UK: Tim Garland, Anita Wardell, Robin Aspland, Phil Donkin, Dave Smith and on her recent return tours to Australia: Graham Wood, Paul Grabowsky, Frank Di Sario, Mike Jordan, Mike Stewart, James Sherlock, Carl Mackey, Ben Vanderwaal, Paul Pooley, Andrew Dickeson, Steve Barry, Cameron Undy & Matt McMahon, among others. Interviews: Jazz Planet - "The Song That Sings Chris McNulty" - Miriam Zolin - All About Jazz - "A Siren From Down Under" - Ludwig Van Trikt - id=41226#.UEkGd45IhS9 Jazz Improv Magazine - "…music has no boundaries: it does not divide and separate, lock people out, say one is better than the other, one truer than the other … music heals and softens, uplifts or engages the spirit. It brings people together. Human beings are more likely to commit random acts of kindness than random acts of violence, though you’d never know that from watching the news or television." - Full Interview - Chris McNulty: Voice of Beauty and Truth - Jazz Ed Magazine - "On the Road" - guest clinician article - Jan, 2007 - Full Article