“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 the second album by collective roots-jazz quartet Way North. There’s a joy in this music that comes from having recorded on the heels of a tour. The band is tight and loose, freely improvising and having fun, while fully in control of the music they are playing. That they love playing together is obvious, and this feeling is contagious, drawing listeners into their love of roots musics mixed with improvising and jazz. This is a community minded band, and they are looking to uplift people with this music. This is jazz you can dance to!
If you know their critically acclaimed first album “Kings County”, you will find the band serving up a similar roots stew, but maybe even more heavily weighted toward street-beats and dancing good times. The collective horn improvising and conversational rhythm section approach comes from modern jazz and roots music at the same time. This gives Way North their unique sound, which is equally at home in a folk house concert as it is on a Jazz Festival stage.
There is music from all four band members here, but it would be hard to tell, as the songs go seamlessly together. Cancura’s Mississippi-Beat “Boll Weevil” opens the album and announces the good times that are ahead. You can also hear his tender waltz “Ready or Not” and “The River’s Flow”. Hennessy’s “Lagoon” is next, and the rhythm section generates a lazy-cowboy lope which the horns ride on top of with the quirky harmonies. She also contributes the Ornette Coleman inspired calypso “Birds for Free” and the ballad “Inchworms”. Barshay’s “Airport to Knowhere” cooks with a Balkan-jazz groove, and he brought the Jelly Rolly Morton medley to the band, which fittingly connects the band’s modern sound with the early New Orleans roots of jazz. Herring’s title track “Fearless and Kind” is a bluesy waltz, and he also wrote the street-beat meets Jazz Messengers “You Know A Song”.
Way North is:
1. Boll Weevil
3. Airport To Knowhere
4. Jelly Roll Morton Medley, Act I: Buddy Bolden's Blues
5. Jelly Roll Morton Medley, Act II: King Porter Stomp
7. You Know A Song
8. Ready Or Not
9. Birds For Free
10.Fearless And Kind
11.The River's Flow
Fearless and Kind
Produced by Way North
Recorded at Canterbury Studios by Jeremy Darby
Mixed & Mastered by Reuben Ghose
Art & Design by Howie Shia & Leo Shia
Tracks 1, 8, 11 by Petr Cancura (SOCAN)
Tracks 2, 6, 9 by Rebecca Hennessy (SOCAN)
Track 3 by Richie Barshay (BMI)
Tracks 7, 10 by Michael Herring (SOCAN)
Tracks 4, 5 by Jelly Roll Morton
© 2018 Way North
5 - Toronto, ON - The Rex
6 - Toronto, ON -The Rex
7 - Ottawa, ON - The National Arts Centre
8 - Montreal, QC - Resonance Cafe
9 - Quebec City, QC - tbc
10 - Quebec City, QC - tbc
11 - Kingston, ON - Kingston Jazz Society
6 - Halifax, NS - Open Waters Festival
14 - Toronto, ON - The Emmet Ray
15 - Victoria, BC - tbc
16 - Nanaimo, BC - Quadwrangle Music at the Lighthouse Bistro
17 - Vancouver, BC - Frankie's
18 - Edmonton, AB - The Yardbird Suite
19 - Saskatoon, SK - The Bassment
Here's a little more about Way North...
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.
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.
Fearless and Kind will be released on Friday, November 2nd and the release will be celebrated with a Canadian tour from November 5th to 11th and January 6th to 19th.