We’re chatting with double bass performer, composer, and Hutchins Consort founder Joe McNalley. I had the chance to spend time with Joe at Andrés Martín’s Contrabajos de Baja California Double Bass Festival
About Joe McNalley:
Joe McNalley began bass violin studies at the age of eleven, and started writing orchestral music in his early teens. Formal training with Edwin Barker, Ran Blake, Miroslav Vitous and Hankus Netsky at the New England Conservatory of Music was followed by advanced studies with Bertram Turezky at U.C. San Diego. Mr. McNalley has played with a number of notable musicians in the classical, jazz, and world music realms and has been honored several times for his solo and ensemble playing. He has performed with George Russell, Vinnie Golia, Jimmy and Jeanie Cheatham’s Sweet Baby Blues Band, Jay McShann, Eddie “Mr. Cleanhead” Vinson, Thad Jones, and other notables of Jazz and Blues. As the founder of the Hutchins Consort, he has written over 220 arrangements and original compositions for the Hutchins Violins.
About the Hutchins Consort:
The Hutchins Consort plays on the eight scaled violins designed and built by luthier Dr. Carleen Hutchins, whose research into the acoustic properties of string instruments resulted in an innovative process called free-plate tuning; a precise method of refining the top and back plates of a violin before it is assembled to bring it to peak acoustic performance.The fruits of her labor are the eight Hutchins violins, ranging in size from the 18.5-inch treble to the 7.2-foot contrabass. Like all violins, these instruments capture the emotional element of the music. But they have the additional advantage of being crafted as a complete set with the same harmonic DNA — giving them the ability to produce a unique array of sounds that add a new dimension to the works they perform.
Known for its eclectic programming, the group includes two visionary composers who have written and arranged a vast anthology of works that embraces virtually every known musical genre. All the music is either transcribed from standard repertoire or composed specifically for the Hutchins Octet to accommodate the unique sonic structure of these instruments. This collection gives the ensemble diversity in performance that few traditional groups can match and is key to their success in bridging the gap between classical music and pop culture.
Based in Southern California, the Hutchins Consort brings together a group of extraordinary players to tackle the challenge of adapting the techniques of traditional strings, as well as inventing new techniques, to master the instruments Dr. Hutchins created. This ensemble of gifted musicians redefines the customarily accepted perception of the chamber music concert with programs that combine great works of virtually every musical genre — from the Renaissance to Rock. Their performances are virtuosic, uninhibited, sometimes improvisational and always entertaining. “…A refreshing departure from the typical chamber music performance.”
Contrabass Conversations is sponsored by:
For more than four decades, Robertson & Sons has specialized in providing the highest quality stringed instruments and bows to collectors, professional musicians, music educators, and students of all ages. Their modern facility is equipped with three instrument showrooms as well as a beautiful Recital Hall available to our clients to in their search for the perfect instrument and/or bow.
This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Kaplan strings, which have versatility and control throughout the dynamic spectrum, rich tonal color palette, superb bow response, and beautiful balance.
Upton’s Karr Model Upton Double Bass represents an evolution of our popular first Karr model, refined and enhanced with further input from Gary Karr. Since its introduction, the Karr Model with its combination of comfort and tone has gained a loyal following with jazz and roots players. The slim, long “Karr neck” has even become a favorite of crossover electric players.
An institution in the Roscoe Village neighborhood for over 20 years, A440‘s commitment to fairness and value means that we have many satisfied customers from the local, national, and international string playing communities. Our clients include major symphony orchestras, professional orchestra and chamber music players, aspiring students, amateur adult players, all kinds of fiddlers, jazz and commercial musicians, university music departments, and public schools.
Contrabass Conversations production team:
- Jason Heath, host
- Michael Cooper and Steve Hinchey, audio editing
- Mitch Moehring, audio engineer
- Trevor Jones, publication and promotion
Subscribe to the podcast to get these interviews delivered to you automatically!