Chris McNulty

Chris McNulty


A rich, expressive voice soaked in swing and blues. An ability to improvise that’s straight from the heart. Wonderfully expressive, demonstrating soaring confidence. Her intonation and articulation are commanding. Liquid phrasing, luminous tone, a voice of serene beauty and striking veracity.


Whispers the Heart (ED4549 - Elefant Dreams):

The album is a cornucopia of all those abstract elements that identify a great performance, and a consummately musical album. What are those elements? They are what enables the music, that is otherwise nothing more than notes on paper, and a few people that show up with musical instruments to play, and whose names later appear on an album jacket, to tap into a certain energy stream and resonate together in extraordinary ways. That’s what happens here on Chris McNulty’s Whispers the Heart.”

Clive Griffin, Jazz Improv, October 2006.

Chris' story.....

McNulty first visited New York City in 1985 and settled there in 1988 after being awarded an International Study Grant from the Australia Council. Since then Chris has garnered further accolades from critics, jazz musicians and fans alike. She has collaborated and performed with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today including: Gary Bartz, Paul Bollenback, Gary Thomas, Mulgrew Miller, Ugonna Okegwo, John Hicks, Frank Wess, Ingrid Jensen, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Tim Garland, Tom Lellis, Billy Hart, Ed Howard, Jeff Ballard, Dave Pietro, Joe Locke, Peter Leitch, Tineke Postma, James Genus, , Matt Wilson, Jeff “Tain” Watts, David “Fathead” Newman, George Mraz, Kenny Washington, Steve Wilson, Joel Frahm, Gary Versace, David Budway, Harvey S and Tony Reedus.

In 1990, 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 also honored to be 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”. Chris has gone on to record several CD’s since then, A Time for Love (Amosaya 1996), I Remember You (Mop Top 2004- re-released on Elefant Dreams 2006), Dance Delicioso (Elefant Dreams 2005) and her most recent and highly acclaimed Whispers the Heart (Elefant Dreams 2006) which has been included on the Jazz Journalist Assocation's (JJA) list of Top 10 recordings of 2006. Her development over this period of time from lyricist to full fledged composer has been duly noted in major press reviews and articles.

In between raising her son Sam, Chris has managed to maintain an active profile and presence on the international scene as both performer and recording artist. Her touring schedule has taken her to all four corners of the globe and includes festival appearances in the UK (Brecon, Wales) Ireland (Kilkenny), Russia (St. Petersberg, Moscow), Australia (Melbourne), Belize (San Pedro). In 2002 Chris toured Russia with Paul Bollenback and appeared at the very first St. Petersburg Jazz Festival. They have since returned to Russia for several concert and club engagements and will be performing in Moscow this coming May 2007. Together, McNulty and Bollenback's magnetic and captivating performances have led to ever increasing festival dates around the world.

Chris' music has received major recognition on national radio throughout the States, UK, Australia, Ireland, Canada and Europe. Recent major features include Michael Jacobi's "Raising the Standards" at KRML Jazz Radio as well as Doug Spence's nationally syndicated program, “The Nightly Planet” from ABC Australia. Dance Delicioso and Whispers the Heart were both included on the Grammy's pre-nomination ballot for the last two years respectively.

On Paul Bollenback’s 6th release Brightness of Being , released March 2006, Chris’ vocalese work is featured amongst a stellar cast of jazz luminaries including David “Fathead” Newman, Tim Garland, Gary Thomas, Terri-Lyne Carrington, James Genus and Ari Hoenig. McNulty’s 6th release in the States, Whispers the Heart, features several new outstanding original works and arrangements including a string quartet written by Chris, along with featured guests including jazz great Frank Wess, Ingrid Jensen, Paul Bollenback (Paul also shares executive and co-producing credits), Ed Howard, Dave Pietro, Tineke Postma, Gary Versace, Matt Wilson, Rogerio Boccato and Montez Coleman.

Increasingly acknowledged by musicians, peers and critics alike as a jazz vocalist-composer with a unique vision, boundless creative energy and strong individual style. McNulty's risk-taking, fluid and powerful emotional approach, support, but never compromise her musical sensibilities. As both vocalist and composer, McNulty breaks new ground by simultaneously reinforcing and re-defining the boundaries for jazz vocals. In short, she is a consummate musician 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 rich harmonically, melodically and lyrically and well worthy of the company they keep al



Written By: Chris McNulty - 2006

Lift your voices higher
Set your heart of fire
Speak the truth and you’ll find it
Set your spirit free
Find the source of every inspiration
Watch winter - come into spring
Every beauty’s here - Now

This old world keeps spinning
Finding new beginnings
Moment to moment
Trust that we are one
Every word and every thought’s your power
To change us
Dance into spring
All the beauty‘s here-- Now

You lift my spirit higher
You set my soul on fire
Can’t believe that I found you
You set my spirit free
You’re my source for every inspiration
We’re dancing - Right into spring
Find the beauty - Within your heart - Start now
Return your heart - Every Beauty’s here …..

Lullaby For a Young Boy

Written By: Chris McNulty

Here’s a gentle child’s story
His photograph sits here calling me
And the saddest melody
He sang to me
Why he left here alone
So many days gone
Who has the answer
To why this young boy’s gone

Young boy, listen to me
Your heart’s all pure - if you just believe
Hold your spirit sacred for
No body’s war
Peace will come, not to all
Just those who seek it
No life lost, in silence
Remember this
Young boy gone

Trust your heart , be still young boy
I dream a dream for you, filled with joy
And this simple melody
Will set you free
You are never alone
And not forgotten
Gentle heart, that you are
Remember this
Young boy

You are not alone,
Trust your heart young boy,
Hold your spirit sacred for no body’s war
Fly away……

Quiet Your Thoughts

Written By: Chris McNulty

Ah dey yah dah…
Ah dey yah dahhh….
Dey yahhh…dey.yah dah yah
Dah ee dah
Dah you dey dah
Da dee wee ahh

Quiet now
You can hear every sound
Quiet your thoughts
Still your mind

Listen you’ll hear the sunrise
Before any light appears
Now the twilight’s time to steal light
Hear the night set the stars in the quiet

Ah dey yah dah…
Ah dey yah dahhh….
Dey yahhh…dey yah dah yah
Dah ee dah
Dah you dey dah,
Da dee wee ahh

Quiet now
You can hear every sound
Quite your thoughts
Still your mind

Watching shadows of moon glow
Return light across the sky
Every moment time has spoken
Whispers near, listen close
You can hear - Quite your thoughts….

Dance Delicioso

Written By: Chris McNulty

Look at the young boy dreaming
He wishes he knew her song
She dances and twirls around him
And hopes he’ll soon join along
Dance delicioso Oooh…oooh..ooh.ooh,ooh,ooh,ooh,oooooh

An old lady sits with memories
Alone without family
She finds herself dancing slowly
Lost in a new fantasy
Dance delicioso Oooh…oooh..ooh.ooh,ooh,ooh,ooh,oooooh

A little child watches shly
She hasn’t yet found her style
She yearns for the time to journey
Starts dancing as they pass by
Dance delicioso Oooh…oooh..ooh.ooh,ooh,ooh,ooh,oooooh

A mother stands in the distance
Afraid of life passing by
An old man to frail for dancing
Takes her by the hand and smiles
Dance delicioso Oooh…oooh..ooh.ooh,ooh,ooh,ooh,oooooh

Look at the young boy dancing
He laughs in the face of fear
The old lady sits with children
She no longer sheds a tear

Look at the young girl dreaming
Her mothers eyes dance with glee
An old man alone no longer
The little child sets him free
Dance delicioso Oooh…oooh..ooh.ooh,ooh,ooh,ooh,oooooh

Only The Silence

Written By: Chris McNulty

You don’t own my words
You don’t own what I’m feeling
I’m a million voices strong
Only silence hears us calling
But you don’t know my name

If you listen close
You might hear the whispered song
On a soft wind blowing down
And it’s sad lament
Sings of lives all spent
Lost on senseless battle grounds

You don’t know my name
You can’t hear what I’m thinking
Still you stake your claim on me
With the stars quietly falling
You’ll hear the heartache
Only the silence hears

Pablo & Song for Sam

Written By: Chris McNulty

I still can’t believe
That you have really come to me
You opened up my eyes, Pablo
Your life’s most, wonderful surprise now
I’m like a little child again
No more fears but then,

Will you be there, tomorrow
Who knows, who cares
What sorrow brings
‘Cause if only for a moment more
I’m just so happy to adore

The beauty of your gentle soul
Your voice a song whispered so low
Is all I hear, and all I know
Of you, just you

Song for Sam

Big brown almond eyes
How did you get so wise
Everybody smiles when you walk by
African music makes me dream
But you haven’t heard of Halloween
A distant memory shines within your heart
You dance you dance ‘neath the bluest of southern skies

I always thought that you
And I could be this way
You mean much more to me
Much more than words can say
I hold you in my arms
On a sunny day
Touch a shining star

I sit and gaze far off
And watch you play
You make friends easily
So unafraid
Your energy is much
That I know one day
You’ll fly away

Big brown almond eyes
How did you get so wise
Everybody smiles when you walk by
African music makes me dream
But you haven’t heard of Halloween
A distant memory shines within your heart
You dance your dance ‘neath the bluest of southern skies


Whispers the Heart (ED4549) Elefant Dreams - 2006
Dance Delicioso (ED4547) Elefant Dreams - 2005
I Remember You (MC4546) Mop Top - 2004 - (ED4546) Elefant Dreams - 2006
A Time For Love (MC4545 Amosaya - 1996 (ED4545) Elefant Dreams - 2006
Big Apple Voices - Venus Records - 1995
Waltz For Debby - Discovery - 1991

Set List

Combination of jazz standards, arrangements of contemporary and classical music along with some original material. Here are examples of some of the standards Chris has recently recorded and currently performs.

Summer Me, Winter Me (Michel Legrand, Bergman's)
Make It Easy On Yourself (Bacharach-David)
How Deep Is The Ocean
My Romance
Come Rain or Come Shine
All of You
Star Eyes
I Should Care
Meaning of the Blues
A House Is Not A Home
East Of The Sun
Original music "her explorations seem to transcend to a free zone between jazz and modern symphonic...." Jazz Times, Dec 2006