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About Chris McNulty

Since her emergence on the international jazz scene in 1991, critically acclaimed Australian-American vocalist-composer, Chris McNulty has been hailed by musicians, peers and critics alike as an artist with a unique vision, boundless creative energy and a distinctive style. She combines a rich, expressive voice with a deep sense of swing, a natural feel for the blues and an impressive ability to improvise.


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. After moving to the United States in 1988 McNulty became a fixture on the New York jazz scene for almost three decades before relocating back to Australia in late 2015. Her recordings and performances have garnered 4 and 5 star reviews in publications including DownBeat, Jazz Times, The Irish Times, Jazz Wise, All About Jazz, JazzIs and The Australian, among many others.


From 2002 onwards McNulty has maintained a consistent presence on the international touring scene performing at festivals including the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Kilkenny (Ireland), Brecon (Wales), Kharkov (Ukraine), Petrozavodsk (Russia), Perth, Wangaratta, and Melbourne International Jazz festivals in Australia. Among the leading American jazz musicians Chris has performed and recorded with are the late great pianists, Mulgrew Miller and John Hicks, saxophonists Gary Bartz, Gary Thomas, David Pietro, Frank Wess and Joel Frahm, drummers Billy Hart, Matt Wilson, Montez Coleman, Marcus Gilmore, and the late Tony Reedus as well as Trumpeter, Ingrid Jensen and long time colleagues bassist, Ugonna Okegwo and guitarist, Paul Bollenback.

Her most recent release Eternal (Palmetto 2015), melds the sounds of chamber ensemble with jazz quintet and it a collaboration with orchestrator Steve Newcomb. Eternal earned her 11th place on the 80th DownBeat Readers Poll for Album of the Year in 2015. In 2013 Chris was the recipient of the Australian Jazz Bell award for Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album for The Song That Sings You Here. On returning to Australia Chris toured the Eternal Chamber Ensemble nationally including performances at St George’s Cathedral (Perth International Jazz Festival), Stonnington, Wangaratta International Jazz festival and the Melbourne Recital Centre.

While her career as a performer and recording artist continues to take her to all four corners of the globe, her recent publication, VCM - Vocalist As Complete Musician has led to increasing engagements for her workshop and clinic presentations. With VCM, Chris has created a method specifically designed for vocal jazz musicians which explores the use of Tetrachords as a tool for integrating theory, ear training and improvisation. Chris will be touring in Japan and Europe in mid 2019 and will augment her performances with VCM workshops. 

On December 5, 2018 the Bundanon Trust announced the names of the six Australian composers who are recipients of the 2019 Prelude Composer Residency award. Chris is extremely honored to be included on this list. She will be commencing her residency at Prelude’s Gallop House, Dalkeith, Perth starting January 2019.

“An immense talent whose vocalizing is fearless and composing peerless.” ― Harvey Siders, Jazz Times


McNulty arrived in New York in 1988 after being awarded an international study grant from the Music Board of the Australia Council. She has collaborated, recorded and performed with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today. Her debut recording in the States, Waltz For Debby (Discovery 1991), introduced Chris to American audiences and received outstanding reviews. The album also features the official published lyric by Chris of the great Miles Davis classic, “Blue in Green.” In 1994 Chris was selected as one of six exceptional jazz voices on the New York scene who were featured on the Venus Records recording, Big Apple Voices. McNulty has gone on to record several internationally acclaimed and award winning albums since then (see dis- cography). The first in her three book series, Vocalist as Complete Musician, was published in 2017.

Chris has produced or co-produced all of her recordings and has appeared as a guest soloist on guitar great, Paul Bollenback’s releases – Brightness of Being and Invocation. She also wrote the vocal group arrangements and appeared as back- ground vocalist on the ground breaking hip-hop-RnB meets jazz album, Strange Frequencies recorded by the late Chap One which was released posthumously in March, 2012.


Chris has performed at many major international festivals.


  • 2013 Wangaratta International Festival 

  • Perth International Jazz Festival (2014)

  • Stonnington Jazz Festival (2009, 2014)

  • Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2007)

  • UK: Edinburgh Jazz Festival (2009)

  • Dundee Jazz Festival (2009)

  • Brecon Jazz Festival (2007)


  • Kilkenny Arts Festival (2006)


  • St. Petersburg’s – White Night’s Festival (2004)

  • Petrozavodsk Jazz Festival

  • Arkhangelsk Jazz Festival (2010)


  • Kharkov Jazz Fest (2008)


  • Ludwigshafen Jazz Festival (2012)

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