WHISPERS THE HEART
by Chris McNulty
Chris McNulty — Increasingly acknowledged by musicians, peers and critics alike as a jazz vocalist-composer with a unique vision, strong individual style and boundless creative energy. McNulty's risk-taking, fluid, and powerful emotional approach support but never compromise her musical sensibilities, reinforcing that she is truly breaking new ground in re-defining the boundaries for jazz singing as she combines her rare talent as both vocalist and composer. In short, a consummate musician with great pitch and control who can touch an emotional core with the audience in a way very few of her contemporaries can. McNulty's 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.
On her new and 6th release, Whispers the Heart, 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 wonderful vocalist-composer has. 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 marvelous work of Ingrid Jensen, Dave Pietro, Tineke Postma (Holland), Ed Howard, Matt Wilson, Rogerio Boccato, 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.
Release Date: 2006
“Her liquid phrasing and luminous tone underscoring a voice of serene beauty and striking veracity... compelling emotional fervency...One of the foremost singer-composers on the scene today... ”
**** 4 Stars Peter Quinn, Jazz Wise UK, Jan 2007
"If McNulty's vocalizing is fearless, then her writing is peerless....her explorations seem to transcend to a free zone between jazz and modern symphonic....There is so much to commend about the album: above all, the versatile, soothing, swimming voice of Australian-born McNulty; her writing and arranging skills. The musical diversity on display is equally impressive" standards sprinkled throughout; rarities by Jobim, Bernstein, and Thad Jones; a surprise guest appearance by Frank Wess, whose tenor timbre is remarkably similar to McNulty's. This, her 6th album, should not merely be listened to, but carefully digested."
— Jazz Times - Harvey Siders, January 2007
“…one of the finest vocal recordings of 2006.”— Scott Yanow, July 2006
“A truly gifted singer with a distinctive mix of slick professionalism and spontaneous ebullience.”
— Ken Smith, July 2005
“…a rich and expressive voice..soaked in swing and blues and an ability to improvise that’s straight from the heart.”
— Robert A. Lindquist, Singer Magazine, May-June 2005 Issue
“This is a girl who can tear a song apart viably in front of your very ears…”
— George W. Carroll, The Musicians' Ombudsman, July 2005
“Wonderfully expressive, demonstrating soaring confidence…her broad range of dynamics and deft vocal skills shine throughout.” — Winthrup Bedfrord, Jazz Improv, October 2005