Rebecca Hennessy is a highly sought-after Toronto-based trumpeter, composer and bandleader who has been performing, recording and touring with various projects since moving to Toronto in 2003 from Vancouver Island, BC. As a leader and co-leader, Rebecca has released seven albums to date and has toured Mexico, Panama, Sri Lanka, Europe, USA and extensively in Canada. She has also performed and recorded with internationally recognized artists including Adele, Ron Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Owen Pallett, Broken Social Scene, Feist, Ab Baars and Ken Vandermark.
In June 2018, Rebecca was presented with the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Jazz Artist Award. In July 2016, Rebecca Hennessy’s FOG Brass Band was nominated for both the Montreal Jazz Festival’s Grand Prix de Jazz and the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the Halifax Jazz Festival. Immediately following this tour, FOG recorded their first full-length album, Two Calls, funded by the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. FOG performs Rebecca’s original music, which merges the traditions of New Orleans party brass bands, Balkan folk music, country blues and high-energy jazz-rock together. These songs, in all their diversity, evoke her myriad musical and extra-musical influences, and feature Toronto’s most creative and exciting improvisers.
Rebecca co-leads Way North, which features herself on trumpet, Petr Cancura on tenor saxophone, Michael Herring on bass and Richie Barshay on drums. Born out of the joy of playing together, these four musicians use jazz and improvisation to explore folk and world music. In 2016, Way North was invited to perform and teach workshops at Danilo Perez’s Jazz Festival in Panama. While in Panama, they also made a trip to the Mamoni Nature Preserve where they performed and collaborated as part of the NGO Earth Train’s Geoversity campaign.
Rebecca is also a co-leader and composer of Toronto’s chamber-jazz quartet, Hobson’s Choice alongside Felicity Williams , Harley Card and Michael Davidson. Hobson’s Choice has been performing and recording since 2008 and has since released three independently funded EP’s and a full length album “Of The Waves” released on Barnyard Records with the support of the OAC. “Of The Waves” was rated 4/4 by Toronto’s Now Magazine.
In 2013/14, Rebecca was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant to live and study in New York City where she studied with two world-class trumpeters and composers: Ralph Alessi and John McNeil. In 2007, Rebecca attended the International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music lead by internationally renowned trumpeter and composer, Dave Douglas, with a scholarship from the Ken Page Memorial Fund.
Rebecca is the musical director Massey Hall’s annual Women’s Blues Revue. She can also be heard performing regularly with Rita Chiarelli and Sweet Loretta, Sue Foley, The Woodshed Orchestra, Drumhand and Viva Mexico Mariachi.
Rebecca has jazz performance degrees from University of Toronto and Vancouver Island University.