Tunnel Six

Jazz fans have chance to dig the music of Tunnel Six

Thursday at the Avalanche

Malcolm Holt

Special to The Record

After last week’s wild celebration of traditional jazz, with all the fun of New Orleans and its musical history, this week’s concert at the Avalanche Bar presents British-cool jazz of the Pacific Northwest as the great Canadian/American jazz collaborative Tunnel Six plays for the Georgia Strait Jazz Society.

Like other performers in recent months, this is the outermost part of their Canadian and American Tour – ranging from Winnipeg to Portland. The great thing is that Courtenay is on the map as a notable jazz venue, and we are able to lure these great musicians. This is the sixth consecutive year the sextet has toured internationally, and we’re proud to be on the circuit.

The band comprises Ben Dietschi, saxophones; Chad McCullough, trumpet; Andrew Oliver, piano; Brian Seligman, guitar; Jesse Dietschi, bass, and Tyson Stubeck on drums.

These musicians come from cities as dispersed as Toronto, Chicago, London, Nashville and Portland, and the band is the by-product of a chance meeting in 2009 at Banff Centre’s International Jazz Workshop.

“Tunnel Six tastefully blends elements of jazz, world and folk to transport audiences from the peaks of the Rockies to the shores of the Maritimes,” Dietschi said in a recent interview.

“Our music was described in eMusic as ‘a transcendent moment, almost spiritual’.

“Our compositions bring distinctive melodic arrangements, by blending six distinct threads into uniquely impressionistic soundscapes.”

The group will also begin recording its third album in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the tour, a yet-to-be-titled project that will dig deeper into group collaboration, album production, and ensemble-based compositions.

“It’s always a challenge to record with this group – because we’re together for such an intense and focused amount of time that we want to be sure to capture the music at the right point of growth,” McCullough said, from his home in Chicago. “I can’t wait for this upcoming project as we’ll be adding elements of post-production studio work over time, to truly make the artistic statement we want. It’ll be an international recording project. Challenging? Yes – but it’ll be worth the extra effort, and I’m sure the result will be (like the band) greater than the sum of its parts.”

In addition to this year’s tour and recording, the band has created an online collaborative space at  tunnelsix.tumblr.com/ where they are taking advantage of their geographic separation to create new collaborative       compositions, while taking in the surroundings of their diverse home cities. The new collaborative compositions will find their way into the repertoire of the group on the tour, providing a new element to their “collective group sound and style,” as Stubelek called it.

“The collaborations through the online [tumblr] site are like an in-depth look at how each musician adds his own concepts,” he said. “You can really see how all of the gears fit together, as the song’s being built.”

Tunnel Six has spent more than half a decade defying the traditional concept of a band. They are six diverse artists, with very different mailing addresses – yet, each time they come together they further the common bond of weaving melodies and improvisations on a shared path. This Thursday is your opportunity to listen to their descriptive music. Don’t miss it. Admission is $10 for members and $12 for non-members. For more info go to georgiastraightjazz.com.

 

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