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Chuck Bianchi - August 2003

Chuck Bianchi
Biography: When I began playing electric bass in the mid-eighties, it was the popular rock and metal bands that first inspired me. But, in high school I took my first music theory class and was introduced to classical, jazz, and the music of Jaco Pastorius. After that, everything changed. I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of music and was fascinated by the melodic potential and subtle range of expression that is possible on the bass.

During my time as a performance major at Berklee College of Music, I continued to explore the possibilities of the bass. There, I had the opportunity to study with Joe Santerre, Bruce Gertz, Whit Brown, Rich Appleman, Anthony Vitti, and many other great players and teachers. Before graduating in 1997, I was selected, along with a half-dozen other students, to perform at the Berklee Performance Center during the school's annual Bass Week where I performed an original composition with a band.

However, as much as I liked playing with other musicians, playing solo held a powerful appeal for me. The thought of being self-sufficient, playing a complete piece of music without any need for accompaniment, had attracted me very early on. But, finding repertoire was a problem. So I began to write my own music and arrange jazz and classical pieces.

Among the first solo pieces I learned were the Bach cello suites. They taught me how to use compound lines to give the illusion of two simultaneous parts. Then, while studying at Berklee with Joe Santerre, he suggested I try to play the Bach two-part inventions on bass, both parts at once. By learning just a measure or two a day, after a month or so I was able to play through one invention. The compositional and technical concepts I learned by playing Bach's music have had a great influence on my style as a solo bassist. But of course, not the only influence. The altered tunings, harmonics, slapping, strumming, two-handed tapping, and other techniques I often use are inspired by players such as Michael Manring and Michael Hedges.

Looking forward, I would like to see the repertoire for solo bass keep expanding. And in this spirit, I intend to keep composing, teaching, and performing music on the bass guitar.

Gigs: Over the last ten years, I've been composing and making music with guitarist, Jerry Preston. Our style draws on everything from the impressionistic music of Ravel and soundscapes of Steve Roach to the progressive sounds of Dream Theater and minimalism of Erik Satie. Performing frequently at festivals, cafes, wineries, and private functions we play our original compositions, both solos and duets, as well as the music of Michael Hedges, Michael Manring, Alex de Grassi, and many others.

I also play regularly with a nine-piece funk band, Brass Taxi, at clubs, festivals, and private events. Brass Taxi's repertoire includes everything from Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder to Frank Sinatra and jazz standards. And, last year I began performing with singer/songwriter Joe Brucato. Joe describes himself as a simple, soulful singer who isn't out to change the face of music but still delivers both passion and energy. His music is poetic, reflective, and vibrant.

Recordings: In 2001, I released my first cd with guitarist Jerry Preston. The disc titled Dreaming Out Loud, serves as a condensed culmination of a decade of exploration. Dreaming Out Loud is a compilation of unaccompanied bass solos, guitar pieces, and duets. Music from the disc has been featured on radio programs such as Music of the 21st Century and the nationally syndicated Echoes with John Diliberto. Right now Jerry and I are composing and recording music for our upcoming project.

Gear: At most of my gigs I use a 5-string Zon Legacy with SWR amplification. During solo performances, I use some reverb and a small amount of chorus. When possible, I like to combine this with a dry sound so the effects are not so prominent.

Some other equipment I use regularly:
5-string Zon Sonus with Hipshot detuners on the 1st, 2nd, and 5th strings
6-string Geoff Smith Custom
Ampeg Baby Bass
SWR SM400 Head
SWR Goliath 4X10 and 2X10 Cabinets
Harmonic E-Bow
Alesis Midiverb 4
D'Addario Strings

Contact Information: You can find me online at

Chuck Bianchi
55 Oliver Street #1
Rochester, NY 14607