Toronto jazz quartet Way North performs at the Lighthouse Bistro on Jan. 16. (Photo supplied)

Nanaimo jazz trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy and band Way North play Lighthouse Bistro

Toronto-based group recently released second album, 'Fearless and Kind'

Toronto instrumental jazz quartet Way North recently released its second album, Fearless and Kind, and following a brief tour of Ontario and Quebec, the foursome is ready to debut that record on the West Coast.

Trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy hails from Nanaimo. It’s been two years since she’s played a hometown show with the band – Hennessy, tenor saxophonist and clarinetist Petr Cancura, bassist Michael Herring and drummer Richie Barshay – and she said the group’s upcoming Jan. 16 date at the Lighthouse Bistro will hold extra meaning.

“I didn’t leave Nanaimo until I was 21 and so coming back is always a real treat,” she said.

Hennessy said the album has been received well since its release in early November and she’s looking forward to introducing the new tunes to B.C. audiences for the first time.

“I hate to say the word ‘accessible,’ but there is something quite accessible about our music and the way we play together is pretty warm and inviting,” Hennessy said. “I’m really excited to bring this music out west. I think my friends that I went to school with will really enjoy it even. They might not even like jazz.”

She said the record is named after a friend’s “words to live by” – that one must always be fearless and kind.

The band members started writing the album while on tour last February.

“We had all these new tunes that we just started to bring in and at the end of the tour we recorded all of those brand-new tunes,” Hennessy said. “Right at the end of the tour so they sort of capture the vibe that we had during the tour.”

She said going straight from the tour bus to the studio resulted in a quick recording session, as “all the tunes, everything was really there for us, so it was a matter of performing the current rendition of it.”

She described the record as a “mishmash” of genres and influences, but the fact that all four members took part in the process on each track gives the album a consistent, unified sound.

“When we’re arranging the songs or deciding how we’re going to play somebody’s composition, regardless if it’s mine or Petr’s or Michael’s … regardless of the genres we’re sort of pulling from or influences, because we’re all having a say in how we perform the song, then there’s just going to be this cohesion that happens just through rehearsing an arranging the songs together,” she explained.

WHAT’S ON … Way North performs at the Lighthouse Bistro on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $10 for students, available at the venue, Fascinating Rhythm, Arbutus music and online.


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