Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chris McNulty, The Song That Sings You Here

Singers. Jazz singers. So many out there right now. So many releases. And in the thick of it all it sometimes hits me that to be a really great "jazz singer" is perhaps one of the hardest feats of all. You have the spirits of the titans behind you, never gone because so much a part of the tradition. Billie, Sarah, Ella, Carmen, Betty. Tough acts to follow. Some make it different, try to break the mould and go the way they hear it. Others straddle the tradition and give us mainstream styling that nonetheless is original.

Chris McNulty is in the latter mode. And she is very good. The Song That Sings You Here (Challenge 73341) will give you a good listen. It's Chris and a jazz combo. There are some McNulty originals, good ones. There are some standards not typically done, "How are Things in Glocca Morra," "Jitterbug Waltz," the beautifully bittersweet, regretful "Last Night When We Were Young."

She has subtlety, a nice instrument, phrasing chops. The arrangements have a limber quality yet do not seem "thrown together" with any sort of haste. And there are solid soloists to step in for a little instrumentality between choruses. Mike Ledonne gives us a nifty arrangement of "On the Street Where You Live" and Chris gives us a very nice set of vocalizings overtop.

So here's a good one! It's not rehashed by-the-numbers stuff. It stands out.

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