How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
It's particularly on that '40s Cahn-Stordahl-Weston gem "I Should Care that Aussie songstress Chris McNulty evokes pleasant memories of Anita O'Day and Chris Connor's hip cool. McNulty's voice can soar lightly into upper registers like O'Day's, and she also exudes a kindred innate cheerfulness that never totally disappears, whatever the song. It's especially apparent with her upbeat, swinging take on Legrand-Bergman's "Summer Me, Winter Me.
She also makes a very credible dive into "Make It Easy On Yourself, a Bacharach-David bleak survivor's report, on which Frank Wess (tenor sax) and Gary Versace (piano) provide especially solid backing. Whispers The Heart, which is strong on ballads, includes songs of her own, such as "Springosphere and "Lullaby For A Young Boy, reflecting a spirit both contemplative and musically adventurous.
Her interplay with her fellow musicians is a joy, including guitarist Paul Bollenback, who shines on Jobim-Gilbert's "You Never Come To Me. Throughout the set, the singer and her cohorts play together seamlessly. A Thad Jones-Abbey Lincoln rarity, "When Love Was You And Me, closes and caps the set. This remembrance of love past comes through in a pin drop-perfect singer and guitarist duet. The nuanced delicacy of their understated approach makes it all the more emotionally affecting.
Track Listing: Summer Me, Winter Me; Make It Easy On Yourself; Come Rain Or Come Shine; Lonely Town; Springosphere; You Never Come To Me; How Deep Is The Ocean;
Quiet Your Thoughts Part 1; Quiet Your Thoughts Part 2; I Should Care; Lullaby For A Young Boy; When Love Was You And Me.
Personnel: Chris McNulty: vocals; Paul Bollenback: guitars; Frank Wess: tenor sax; Ingrid Jensen:
flugel-trumpet; Dave Pietro: tenor sax, flutes, clarinet; Tineke Postma: alto, soprano sax,
Versace: piano; Ed Howard: bass; Matt Wilson, Montez Coleman: drums; Rogerio Boccato: