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Chris McNulty

Originally from Australia but based in New York City, Chris McNulty is a warm, tasteful jazz vocalist with a gentle touch and a subtle sense of swing. The Aussie isn't one to favor abstraction for the sake of abstraction, or difficulty for the sake of difficulty; her work has tended to be on the accessible side. Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald have often been cited as influences, and one also hears slight traces of Cool School favorites like June Christy, Chris Connor, and Anita O'Day in McNulty's phrasing. Another person who has had a slight effect on McNulty -- either directly or indirectly -- is Jo Stafford. But unlike Stafford -- who was a pop singer with jazz influences -- McNulty essentially falls into the jazz category. That isn't to say that she is oblivious to popular culture; actually, McNulty embraced popular music before she embraced jazz.

McNulty was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, where she started out singing rock, R&B, and pop. Back in the early '70s, her tastes ranged from soul singers like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway to progressive rockers Yes to the jazz-influenced traditional pop of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. It was around 1976 that she got seriously into hardcore jazz and discovered Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, among others, and before long, jazz singing became her primary focus. By 1978, McNulty was co-leading a jazz ensemble with Australian pianist/composer Paul Grabowsky (who went on to lead the Australian Art Orchestra). The early- to mid-'80s found McNulty being consistently active on the Australian jazz scene, but in 1988, she moved to New York. She had been living in the United States for three years when, in 1991, her first U.S. release, Waltz for Debbie, came out on the Discovery label. Waltz for Debbie was the first time that McNulty had provided a full-length album under her own name -- back in Australia, she had been featured on various albums by local artists but didn't come out with any full-length albums of her own.

After Waltz for Debbie, McNulty recorded A Time for Love (which the Amosaya label put out in 1996), I Remember You (released on Moptop Records in 2002), and Dance Delicioso (on the Elefant Dreams label) in 2005. ~ Alex Henderson
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Song That Sings You Here

1. How Little We Know

2. How Are Things In Glocca Morra

3. Jitterbug Waltz

4. Lonely Woman

5. On The Street Where You Live

6. Last Night When We Were Young

7. The Lamp Is Low

8. One Less Bell To Answer

9. Letter To Marta

10. Long Road Home - The Song That Sings You Here

x

Track List: Whispers The Heart

1. Summer Me, Winter Me

2. Make It Easy

3. Come Rain Or Shine

4. Lonely Town

5. Springosphere

6. If You Never Come To Me

7. How Deep Is The Ocean

8. Quiet Your Thoughts, Part 1

9. Quiet Your Thoughts, Part 2

10. I Should Care

11. Lullaby For A Young Boy

12. When Love Was You And Me

x

Track List: Dance Delicioso

1. Primitive

2. Next Day

3. He Moved Through The Fair

4. All Of You

5. Meaning Of The Blues

6. Dance Delicioso

7. Last Farewell

8. Roamin'

9. Star Eyes

10. Only The Silence

11. Last Farewell

x

Track List: I Remember You

1. Easy To Love

2. A House Is Not A Home

3. So In Love

4. Young And Foolish

5. Pablo

6. Rosie

7. The Party's Over

8. I Remember You

9. This Girl's In Love

10. I See Your Face Before Me

11. More Today Than Yesterday

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I used to worry about the future of vocal jazz with the passing of Billie, Ella, Sarah, Carmen McCrae, et al. But Chris McNulty is one of the many young singers whose talents bode well for the future of the genre.
Report as inappropriate
hopkinseye
One of the few living female jazz vocalists who will "dare to
be different." Occasionally will overreach; she is
a great talent.

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