Glenn McNulty

Raw Silk

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The wealth of great sax players in the genre makes for a double-edged sword for the new artist; it's difficult to create a sound unlike that of anyone else, and way too easy for the listener to make obvious comparisons to everyone who's gone before. Glenn McNulty made a good choice when he called his debut Raw Silk because he takes his tenor in two basic directions -- a swaying, gentle cool which provokes the soulful appeal of Boney James and a more aggressive slow burning effect which falls somewhere between the dynamics of Richard Elliot and Gato Barbieri. When he's playing it romantic, it's as though he's holding back a little, keeping the melody a bit subdued on "Jump Start," for instance, while Ray Obiedo's Wes Montgomery like electric guitar harmony adds the true distinction to the track. This type of grace works better on the whispery, breathy tones of the Brazilian flavored ballad "Today" and "Softly Spoken," which achieves a French Café effect courtesy of Rick Kuhns' wistful accordion touch. But it's not until the jumpier brassy blues tune "Poolside" that McNulty really lets loose and gets raw and funky. "Summer Tides" combines the best of both approaches, as the saxman eases softly into a midtempo ballad that later offers pockets for some powerful improvisations.

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