Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
McNulty, Chris (C.)
McNulty, Chris (C.), jazz vocalist; b. Melbourne, Australia, 23 December 1953. She was a first-born twin. Her son is Samuel Miles McNulty, (b. March 19th, 1981 in Sydney Australia). Sam's father is the American jazz musician Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone). Chris's Parents are Reece D. McNulty (b. 1921) and Carmel M Hancy (b. 1927). Both parents were born in Melbourne Australia. Chris has 5 other siblings, all born in Melbourne, Australia: Raymond (b. 1948), Cheryl (Cecile) (b. 1949), Patricia (2nd born twin to Chris, b. 1953), Kenny (b. 1959), and Jenine (Therese) (b. 1964).
Since journeying to New York from her native Australia in 1988, Chris has garnered accolades from critics, jazz musicians, and fans alike. And she has collaborated with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today. She spent her early career touring Australia and South East Asia, cutting her teeth on music ranging from pop to funk and R&B. Her early influences were Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Marlena Shaw, Donny Hathaway, Yes and Marvin Gaye. After coming off the road in 1976, Chris discovered the great American jazz singers: Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae and Nancy Wilson. It was at this time that she began to establish herself as a strong solo singer with a distinct style and great versatility. By 1978 Chris had co-formed her first jazz ensemble in Melbourne with the noted pianist/composer Paul Grabowsky, who now heads the Australian Art Orchestra. At the same time she continued studio work for the top songwriters and producers on film, jingle and recording dates. Chris continued to expand as a jazz vocalist throughout this period. She led various ensembles performing in the top jazz venues throughout the country and appeared on all the major national television variety shows in Australia, including Bert Newton's Tonight Show, Steve Vizard, Ray Martin and Mike Walsh, and the Sunday Program After visiting New York in 1985, Chris settled in New York City in 1988 after being awarded an International Study Grant from the Australia Council. Since her arrival stateside, Chris has released several recordings and was honored to be selected as one of six exceptional new jazz singers on the New York scene to be featured on the Venus recording, "Big Apple Vo ices." For her first solo recording, Chris wrote and sang lyrics to the great Miles Davis composition "Blue in Green." She received the published lyric contract for the tune, and her version is now the official English language lyric. Since her arrival in New York, Chris has worked consistently in and around the metropolitan area building support and securing regular bookings at a number of venues. She has also toured extensively in Australia as well as in the United Kingdom and is currently preparing for a return visit to her native country. Working regularly has enabled Chris to continue developing and expanding her material as well as affording her the opportunity to work with some great players on the jazz scene including among others: John Hicks, Peter Leitch, Paul Bollenback, Ugonna Okegwo, Adam Cruz, Joel Frahm, Joe Locke, Mark Soskin, Rob Bargad, Dwayne Burno, David Budway, George Mraz and Kenny Washington. Chris just recently completed a new recording project which features
arrangements in collaboration with the brilliant guitarist and Challenge recording artist, Paul Bollenback. This recording includes several re-harmonized standards from the 60's and 70's, along with an original composition by Chris. Chris expects this collaboration to lead her in a new direction for future recordings and live performances. And she will, of course, continue to re-invent songs from the Great American Song Book. Her many talents as a hard-swinging post-bop singer, balladeer, and interpreter of old and new standards will continue to attract audiences in New York, Australia, and
plenty of places in between. In October 2001 Chris McNulty will be a major feature at the BAM presentation of the first Australian Arts festival being held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She will also be featured in the new Soho loft jazz series currently being presented by Laura Hartman of LvanHart Productions, being held atop of Quilty's restaurant with the brilliant alto-soprano saxophonist, Gary Bartz and the great Paul Bollenback on guitar later this fall. Chris recently completed tours to Australia and the United Kingdom and will later tour Russia with Paul Bollenback in October 2002. She recently appeared with Bollenback at the Harrisburg "Friends of Jazz" Festival and will be appearing in August at the Renfrew Festival in Pennsylvania. Chris also continues to work with the great Peter Leitch and can be heard on occasion with Peter at Walkers, on North Moore Street in lower Manhattan. Peter's regular Sunday night presentations of special duet performances which often feature along with Peter, such jazz luminaries as Gary Bartz, Ray Drummond, Bobby Watson and Steve Wilson is one of New York's best kept secrets, but well worth the trip down town on the 1 or 9.
Waltz for Debbie (1991); Big Apple Voices; A Time For Love (1996); I Remember You (2001)
Sam McNally: First Chance (1979); Bruce Cale: A Century of Steps (1981)
Liner notes to I Remember You written by GARY BARTZ
Gail Brennan, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 17, 1991
Kevin Jones, The Australian, Sydney, July 17, 1991
Craig Pearce, Drum Review, 2002