Chris McNulty in collaboration with gifted Australian orchestrator, Steve Newcomb celebrates the life of her son, Sam in this breathtaking new release. “Eternal” exquisitely melds the sound of chamber ensemble (strings & woodwinds) and jazz quintet.
McNulty asserts that she never sings a song unless she can connect with it personally and make it truly her own. The selection of repertoire for her seventh CD, Eternal, carried an even more deeply personal requirement, however: celebrating the life of McNulty’s cherished son Sam, who passed away in 2011. The gorgeously heartfelt and emotionally moving album, to be released March 24th, 2015 on Palmetto Records, is a sublime love letter expressing the ineradicable bond between mother and child, with an exquisite blend of jazz quintet and chamber ensemble.
I strongly believe in the power of unspoken language. As artists we operate in this realm much of the time: instinct, vibe. This album is full of both. When we entered the studio to record this music, I wanted us to feel the spirit of what Sam’s life represented to me but without the sorrowful ending. There was so much jubilance in and around him so I made the decision not to share the story of the loss of Sam with everyone, just the core players. There is no sorrow more deafening than losing a child. This music comes from the pain of loss, but it also comes from a place of hope and faith: the hope of reunion; the knowledge that death cannot separate us and that love—what we feel for someone and how we receive it—is the most powerful gift of all.
As Dave Darlington so aptly put it, “To hear so much beauty and joy come out of such loss and grief speaks volumes about the powerful, healing force music has on the heart and the soul, not only for the listener but also the musicians who create it.”
As an artist I feel especially blessed to have heard that voice within me and followed the light of its path while in the midst of such darkness. Sam left us with a message; he didn’t just speak it, he lived it. His spirit lives on in all who knew and loved him and it’s woven through this collection of songs. I feel so blessed to be able to share this gift for Sam with you all.
“McNulty has put all she has learned over half a lifetime of jazz singing and songwriting into this exquisite chamber jazz CD. The Australian born, New York City-based singer and a veteran performer on the international jazz scene, has many gifts as a performer and a direct channel to the emotional core of a lyric. On this CD, McNulty bares her soul, and one doesn’t dare look away.” ★★★★½
— Allen Morrison, Downbeat, June 2015
“McNulty’s singing is so simply fine that it’s not easy to characterize….almost like a storyteller, gently and languidly caressing the words for maximum emotional impact, for her and the listener. Eternal is a fitting title – these songs are standards, evergreens, they’ve stood the test of time. With singers the caliber of Chris McNulty, the art of jazz singing, the art of making a song belong to the singer, is (and will be) enduring as well.”
– Mark Keresman, Jazz Ed Magazine, March 2015
“Such a beautifully crafted and heartfelt performance throughout. From the very first minute we hear McNulty’s eloquent, exquisite vocals, we know this is an album we are going to be listening to time and time again; to catch those rare moments of beauty a release such as this delivers.” ★★★★
– Mike Gates, UKVibe, February 2015
“The best singers make us believe the songs they are singing.” ★★★★
– Cormac Larkin, Irish Times, March 2015
“The resultant blend is beautiful and seamless, as sensitivity reigns supreme.” ★★★★½
– Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz, March 2015
Produced by Chris McNulty & Steve Newcomb
Steve Newcomb – Orchestrations all tracks except # 12. Arrangements tracks: 4, 5 & 6
Chamber Ensemble – Violins: Mazz Swift, Josh Henderson, Amanda Lo Viola: Trevor New Cello: Meaghan Burke, Marika Hughes
Woodwinds: Jodie Rottle – flute & alto flute, Ivan Barenboim – clarinet & bass clarinet, John Morgan-Bush – French horn, Ben Wendel – bassoon
John Di Martino – trio arrangements (tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12)
Trio – John Di Martino – piano, Ugonna Okegwo – bass, Gregory Hutchinson – drums
Soloists: Ben Wendel – track 2, Matthew Jodrell – tracks 3 & 9, Paul Bollenback – tracks 1 & 10, Ivan Barenboim – track 12
Thanks to each and every one of the outstanding musicians for your extraordinary contributions. The talent and humanity you brought to this music are gold. My biggest other wish is that we all get to play this music again live, soon.
Heartfelt thanks to Steve Newcomb – Shining, talented and gifted through and through. All integrity, body and soul. Feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with you on this project, Steve. Even when the pressure was on, there was always beauty and love. Thank you for your extraordinary hard work and sharing your gifts with us, my friend.
John Di Martino – Thank you for your brilliant ears, creative focus and your warm and caring spirit, John
Matthew Jodrell – Your solo on “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” takes my breath away. Thank you Matt.
Paul Bollenback – Immaculate contributions. You are all about the music and always have been. Thanks Paul.
Dave Darlington – There’s no one on the planet more special as an engineer. Impeccable ears and professionalism. As human being there are no words. My heart is full of deep gratitude, Dave.
Recorded at Water Sound, Hoboken – January 2013
Session engineer – Sean Kelly
Mixed and Mastered by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Recording NYC, May and October 2013
Photography – John Abbott
Graphic Design – Chris Conole
Publicist – Ann Braithwaite
Attorney – Brian Taylor Goldstein, Esq., GG Arts Law
Liner note edits – David Munk
Special thanks to Missi Callazzo and her entire staff at Palmetto Records and to Josh Ellman & Mark Rini at Groov Marketing