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Whispers The Heart, the sixth album from Chris McNulty, a native-born Australian, continues the positive vibe of last year's Dance Delicioso, with a similar cast of jazz players. McNulty has selected an average collection of tunes, some of which are familiar titles from the Great American Songbook, plus others which make this an interesting package.
The Michel Legrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman movie song "Summer Me, Winter You," the Bacharach/David '60s hit "Make It Easy On Yourself" (with a guest appearance by Frank Wess on tenor sax), Leonard Bernstein's showtune "Lonely Town," and Abbey Lincoln and Thad Jones' "When Love Was You and Me" (a fine duet with Paul Bollenback) all add to this collection.
It isn't so much any actual tune but McNulty's delivery that places this singer ahead of the crowd. On titles like "How Deep Is The Ocean," McNulty slows the pace down and applies a distinctive cool '50s femme vocalist attitude that really works. On Jobim's "If You Never Came," she sounds very much like Lani Hall singing lead for Sergio Mendes' Brazil '66. Her version of the Cahn/Stordahl/Weston standard "I Should Care" is taken at mid-tempo and given a fine swing treatment. Chris McNulty adds three original tunes ("Springosphere," "Quiet Your Thoughts," "Lullaby For A Young Boy") to the album.
There are also lots of good solo opportunities here for Paul Bollenback's guitar, Ingrid Jensen's flugelhorn, Dave Pietro's tenor sax and flute, and Tineke Postma's alto and soprano sax.
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:
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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