From Nola’s To Calgary

Last night we played Nola’s Creole Kitchen in Edmonton.  The atmosphere was classy and the crowd was eagerly listening to our 2 sets of music while indulging in their tasty menu.  It was nice to be back in Edmonton again as this was our 3rd year in a row playing this great northern city.  The night was winding down nicely as we finished our last few drinks.  And then, in true Tunnel Six fashion, our luck with the road finally ran out… a flat tire!  Luckily Chad was able to gracefully replace the spare so we didn’t drop a beat (with the exception of that strange bar of 7 in Andrew’s new tune “No Mongoose”; one of nine new songs we intend to record with a live record at the end of this tour).  With a quick visit to Canadian Tire the next morning we were able to hit the road towards Calgary for an evening at the Beatniq.

From Canmore To Edmonton

Last Saturday we performed at Gibson’s Dougall Park for the Jazz Festival.  It was great for us to hit the stage after roughly ten months apart.  We have been lucky enough to befriend many of the local musicians here over our 3 total visits.  Our friends Rakish Angles opened up the festival at noon with their delightful blend of folk, contemporary and bluegrass.  Three of our own troops were invited up to perform in a very tasteful tribute to the late great Levon Helms with the song Ophelia.  Afterwards, we were musicially enthralled by the trio work of Gord Grdina.  We performed our suddenly very windy set to a warm and friendly audience in the afternoon park.  The sun was shining and it was yet another great Gibson’s Landing Experience.

Monday evening we lead a fun and educational clinic yesterday with the “Creek Big Band”, then the next monring we hit the road for Canmore Alberta.  It was a long drive, but didn’t feel too bad compared to our previous years touring this country’s great rocky landscape.  We spent Tuesday afternoon enjoying Canmore’s beautiful scenery, then we played 2 sets at Tapas, which is always such an incredible and delicious experience

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The Tour Begins!

Last Thursday night Tunnel Six officially arrived at the Sunshine Coast!  After a slew of flights, lay-overs, long drives and one ferry trip we all conjured up in a nestled cabin located in the woods of Roberts Creek, BC .  The scenery was incredible and the people are just as friendly as their reputation upholds.  With virtually no internet service at the cabin, it’s the perfect place for us to catch up and spend tumultuous hours rehearsing.  For us, this is quite reminiscent of our original inception at the Banff Centre for the Arts back in 2009 www.banffcentre.org

This year we are performing at the Gibson’s Landing Jazz Fest www.coastjazz.com to kick off our tour.  After that we’re on to a Big Band clinic over in Sechelt (pronouced ‘sea shelt’).  The cabin is loaded with food, beer and wine and our spirits are high as we embrace the very laid back and friendly community vibe that is the west coast of Canada.

June 2012 Tour!

Well it’s spring again, which means its time for us here at Tunnel Six to reunite for our THIRD (!) spring Western Canada/US tour.  We’re really looking forward to playing together again.  We’ll have brand-new tunes and we’ll be recording the last 4 gigs of the tour for a new live album to be released later this year (or possibly early next year).  Our itinerary will start in one of our favorite places, Gibsons BC where we’ll play at the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival.  From there we’ll go out to Alberta for a few days and then back to Vancouver and Nanaimo before heading to the U.S. to play in Washington and Oregon.  Full details are at the “Performances” page and you can read our full press release here.  Hope to see you this June!

End of year wrapup!

Welcome to the site of Tunnel Six, a Canadian-American collective jazz sextet.  We’ve been playing together since 2009 when we all met at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada.

We had a great year in 2011 starting off with the release of our debut album “Lake Superior” on OA2 records (see link in right sidebar!) and an accompanying Western Canada tour with performances in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Gibsons, and Roberts Creek.  We even had some legitimate band photos taken in the Sunshine Coast (see above!)

We traveled out to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in July to perform at the Halifax Jazz Festival and the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival in St. John’s, NL.  It was many of our first times out in Eastern Canada and we had a wonderful time.

We’ve also gotten some attention in the past month on several end-of-year lists from emusic (right ahead of Brittany Spears!) and All About Jazz.  Several more publications have reviewed our album including All Music Guide, Cadence, and a full review at emusic as well.

Thanks to everyone for your support and we’re really looking forward to lots of good music in 2012, we’re planning a western Canada tour which will also reach down into Washington and Oregon and hopefully a fall tour in Ontario as well!  You can always find us over at Facebook as well.  Cheers and happy new year to everyone.

July in Eastern Canada!

We’re very excited to have been invited to two great festivals in Eastern Canada this year, the Halifax Jazz Festival and the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival (in St. John’s, Newfoundland).  We’ll be in Halifax on the 14th of July and St. John’s on the 16th.  It’ll be our first appearance in both cities so spread the word out east and we’ll see you there!  Full details at the “Performances” page.

Also, we finally have some new band photos from a great shoot in the Sunshine Coast with Raquel Fors:

Tour Photos Part 2

We’ve just finished up a great Spring tour of Alberta and BC and although we had the best of intentions to blog and post photos throughout the tour, we did not completely succeed at that task.  However, here is a second photo entry of the stretch from Edmonton to the Sunshine Coast, thanks to tour photographer Tyson.

We were very excited to return to the Yardbird Suite in Edmonton, one of the greatest clubs in all of Canada run by one of the most amazing jazz societies anywhere.  They even had  a nice feature in their program:

Then began the long drive westward through the Rockies and Cascades:

Ending at last in a suburb of Vancouver (the blurriness of the photo reflects our mental state at the time):

Then we moved on to one of our favorite areas, the Sunshine Coast (off the coast of Vancouver).  Ferries and great natural scenery greeted us:

We had some great times in Gibsons and Roberts Creek, and played a wonderful concert at a small recording studio for an amazing audience, where we also gave a community improvisation workshop earlier in the day to a wide diversity of instrumentalists (5 fiddles, drums, voice, harmonica, and piano), which was really a positive experience for us and the participants.

Coming soon, the “Tunnel Mountain” music video…

Photo Time!

Well as promised, but slightly delayed, here is a bit of a chronicle of our tour so far this year.  As noted below, we had a bunch of driving and flying and eventually convened in beautiful Canmore, in the Canadian rockies.  We were very happy to see each other again:

We were very lucky to be able to stay at a great timeshare courtesy of Chad’s family.  They treated us very well despite our lengthy rehearsals in the main recreation room:

We played a couple of “secret” gigs at restaurants in Canmore to get warmed up for the tour.  The first one was at a very wood-filled place called the Iron Goat, with great food and a view of the epic mountains:

The following evening we played at an amazing Spanish restaurant called Tapas, where we were absolutely stuffed with extremely fine food and drink and had a generally great time.  Despite our best efforts, more food and drink kept mysteriously appearing, resulting in a fantastic evening for all:

Yesterday we decided to make the first Tunnel Six music video.  More on that very soon, but here’s a couple of images to whet your appetite, as it were:

We played a fun but somewhat turbulent gig at the BeatNiq in Calgary last night.  We debuted new songs by Chad and Brian, which went very well, and had a pretty good and relatively full house too!

Now we’re on our way to Edmonton where we’re playing at the Yardbird tonight!  See below for the really nice preview from the Edmonton Journal.  More to come!

Edmonton Journal

In anticipation of a serious photo-blog post later this evening, here’s what the Edmonton Journal has to say about our upcoming show on Saturday at the Yardbird:

Tunnel Six jumps into jazzMost of the time they’re spread all over the continent, but ever since the musicians of Tunnel Six met about two years ago, they have shared a special simpatico that continues to grow.

“We come from somewhat different backgrounds and from all over the country,” notes trumpeter Chad McCullough. “I think that’s one of the strong points of the band, but we also have a very similar musical esthetic. Even though we write very different tunes, they all seem to have the same vibe.”

He sums up their sound as strongly melodic contemporary jazz. The three Canadians and three Americans met as participants in the 2009 Banff Centre International Jazz Workshop. Trumpeter McCullough (based in Seattle) is joined by saxophonist Ben Dietschi (Toronto), guitarist Brian Seligman (Toronto), pianist Andrew Oliver (Portland), bassist Ron Hynes (Halifax), and drummer Tyson Stubelek (New York). All six contribute compositions.

Their name Tunnel Six refers to the Tunnel Mountain that rises behind the Banff Centre, and that’s not their only play on place names. When the group reunited last year for a cross-continent tour, they had one particularly satisfying, if chilly soak after being cooped up in a van for many hours. In memory of jumping into that lake, the album they recorded at the end of that tour is titled Lake Superior.

That all-original collection of tunes has just been released. “That tour really had a huge effect in helping us sort out our musical directions. We like to break down some of the traditional roles of instruments,” McCullough explains, “like using the guitar as another horn, or at other times, like a piano.”

Tunnel Six will perform tunes from the CD Lake Superior and newer works when they hit the stage at the Yardbird Suite (102nd Street at 86th Avenue) Saturday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $18 for members, $22 for guests, from Ticketmaster (780-451-8000) or at the door.