Sunday, October 10, 2010

JazzVox concert review - Chris McNulty & Paul Bollenback - May 9, 2009

Every JazzVox concert I have attended this year has been absolutely stellar, and the May 9th concert with Australian-born chanteuse Chris McNulty and her husband, famed NYC guitarist Paul Bollenback, was no exception!  A highly acclaimed vocalist-composer with a soaring, luminous quality, a sly seasoned delivery, and a natural sense of swing, Ms. McNulty imparts her own unique magic whether interpreting a languorous jazz classic or delving into one of her adventurous, genre-blending compositions.  Chris’ innovative music draws from such diverse styles as rock, folk/pop and even symphonic, and she possesses a rare natural ability to compellingly make each song her own.  She throws off the shackles of strict meter and melody, bending the rhythms and syncopating phrases in delightful, unexpected ways.
Chris’ songs are a reflection of her immaculate storytelling and she takes liberties with their lines without losing her sense of engagement with the words.  They include an optimistically spiritual “All of You/The Long Road Home” as well as “The Meaning of the Blues” sung with an inventive Brazilian flair.  She also demonstrates her considerable range of dynamics and striking veracity with such poignant classics as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “My Romance”.

The subtle variations Ms. McNulty applies to each song illustrate her unwavering commitment to jazz and as a consummate artist, her unsentimental approach suggests a certain vulnerability and intimacy.  She is at once a breezy swinger and impassioned balladeer capable of injecting emotion, pathos, irony and  meaning into her work – a gift that few singers can lay claim to.
The perfect accompanist to Chris’ soulful style is her husband, Paul  Bollenback, who plays an eclectic rubato guitar that impeccably underscores her effortless improvisations and nuanced melodies.  Paul displays a dazzling array of exotic effects and alternates beautifully his methods of playing whether strumming in octaves, creating breathtaking runs and harmonies, and plucking notes with an unmatched feverency.  His writing and arranging chops are second to none, and he completes her so beautifully as the pin drop-perfect singer and acoustic guitar duet.  If you wish to know more about this truly remarkable duo, please visit their wonderful websites at and  You may also visit for all the latest information on equally fabulous upcoming concerts and artists not to be missed!

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