Way North: Fearless And Kind (M A P L)
Way North’s three Canadians and a New Yorker are reminiscent of the kind of ensemble you might find playing on a corner in the French Quarter of New Orleans. For all of their sophisticated musicianship, that’s the kind of jovial feeling the quartet summons in tenor saxophonist Petr Cancura’s “Boll Weevil,” trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy’s “Fearless And Kind” and several other rollicking pieces in this carefree collection. The title track maintains the feel-good atmosphere while at the same time giving the proceeding an almost (but not quite) somber cast. That is also true of Way North’s approach to a brief exposition of Jelly Roll Morton’s “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” which includes growls by Hennessy that seem to be inherited more or less directly from Bolden’s trumpet successor King Oliver. Solemnity dissolves when they move into their second Morton tune, “King Porter Stomp.” Bassist Michael Herring and drummer Richie Barshay—the American member—generate enthusiastic swing as they collaborate behind Cancura’s and Hennessy’s solos on “Porter.” Herring’s solos on that piece and on Hennessy’s “Inchworm” are highlights of those tracks. Hennessy’s trumpet work throughout further illuminates why she is enjoying growing regard in Canadian jazz circles. She is one to keep an ear on.
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