Petr Cancura – Saxophone – Ottawa
Rebecca Hennessy – Trumpet – Toronto
Michael Herring – Double Bass- Toronto
Richie Barshay – Drums – NYC
Way North is a cross-border mash-up of Canadian and American artists born out of the joy of playing together. Formed in Brooklyn in 2014 by three Canadians and a New Yorker, the band features saxophonist Petr Cancura (Down Home – JUNO nominee), trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy (2018 Toronto Emerging Jazz Artist/Women’s Blues Revue bandleader), bassist Michael Herring (Peripheral Vision – JUNO nominee) and American drummer Richie Barshay (Herbie Hancock/Chick Corea/Esperanza Spalding). The quartet brings together four composers who love to explore folk and world music with a backbone in jazz improvisation. They love to use their musical connection to reach audiences, building community wherever they play.
They have just released their second album, “Fearless And Kind” following their debut CD, Kings County, which was picked by the Ottawa Citizen as one of the best Jazz CD’s of 2015. They have launched this new album with high-energy performances to enthusiastic audiences, and expect more of this as they continue touring in support of “Fearless and Kind”. Way North’s music is a roots stew, seamlessly threading together the blues, old-time, Balkan, Brazilian, Calypso, and other folk genres with jazz and improvisation, creating music that has been called “Avant-Trad” (Nou Dadoun, 100.5 Vancouver).
In January 2016, Way North was invited to perform and teach at the Panama Jazz Festival by artistic director Danilo Perez, and also appeared at the Mamoni Valley Preserve as part of the Earth Train NGO Geoversity campaign. In 2017 Way North was awarded a grant by the Canada Council for the Arts to tour Canada, and once again the CCA has supported both their new album and tour in 2018 and 2019.
“From the very first notes of its kick-off track… Way North, announces that it knows how to get the party started… with songs that sound rich and personal while acknowledging the tremendous heritage behind them.” – Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen
“The music is instantly inviting and infectious with a capacity for taking the listener to unexpected places.” – Ted Quinlan, The Whole Note
“Fearless and Kind is all about a celebration of sound, with a rapturous elasticity on the up-tempo tunes, and a hearteningly ruminative heft on the more languid moments. It’s like a band standing on a street corner in the French Quarter, giving it their all.” – Dan Clenaghan, All About Jazz