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Chris McNulty: Dance Delicioso

Dan McClenaghan By

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On her fifth CD release, Dance Delicioso, Australian-born vocalist Chris McNulty sings a couple of classics, Cole Porter's "All of You" and the tried and true "Star Eyes", givng each tune a distinctive turn. The familiar melodies are surrounded here by McNulty's well-crafted original tunes, Annie Lennox's "Primitive," Bobby Troup's "Meaning of the Blues," and the haunting traditional Irish song "He Moved Through the Fair."

You often hear the words "sultry" and "sensuous" used to describe the voices of lady singers, but McNulty doesn't strike me that way. Hers is a richly feminine sound, with a dash of sauce on "All of You," a jaunty, melody-stretching romp that has an innovative feel to it.

McNulty sounds sad—in a recovery mode from love lost, perhaps—on Bobby Troup's "Meaning of the Blues," a take on the tune that contains a bunch of exquisite moments, like Sonny Barbato's sweet accordion work, with a gorgeous little solo in front of the whisper of Paul Bollenback's accoustic guitar. On "Star Eyes," McNulty goes with a more horn-like delivery, reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald as she pushes melody around inside a bouncy arrangement.

The set, produced by McNulty and guitarist Paul Bollenback, has a high polish. Those exquisite moments I mentioned in "Meaning of the Blues" applies to every song here, with some surprises. The traditonal Irish tune "He Moved Through the Fair" is done with a dark yet airy style that features Erik Friedlander's deep-toned cello sound.

The McNulty-penned title tune tells a handful of life-affirming stories, with some lush background harmonies, and listen to her voice as it rises from womanly to girlish as she when she tells a young girl's tale.

A beautiful, original, polished effort.

Visit Chris McNulty on the web.

Track Listing: Primitive; New Day; He Moved Through the Fair; All of You; Meaning of the Blues; Dance Delicioso; Last Farewell; Roamin'; Star Eyes; Only the Silence; Last Farewell-Reprise.

Personnel: Chris McNulty: voice; Paul Bolenback: guitars; Gary Bartz: alto saxophone; Mulgrew Miller, John DiMartino: piano; Sonny Barbato: accordion; Erik Friedlander: cello; Ugommo Okegwo: bass; Billy hart-drums; Cafe da Silva: percussion; Joel Frahm: saxophones; Dave DiPietro: soprano saxophone; Gary Thomas: tenor saxophone.

Title: Dance Delicioso | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Elefant Dreams Records

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