Peter Shea, the Canadian pianist, drummer and vocalist who was also the co-founder of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival along with his wife and musical partner Juliet Dunn, has died.
Shea passed away early Sunday morning following a battle with prostate cancer.
Growing up in a family of musicians and music lovers, Shea graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in jazz performance and composition in 1995. Throughout his career, he performed with many talented Canadian jazz musicians including Phil Dwyer, Pat LaBarbera, Graham Lear, Heather Bambrick, Kevin Turcotte, June Garber and Duncan Hopkins, earning esteem as one of the Niagara region’s eminent jazz musicians.
Shea and Dunn met in Niagara in 2006 and had been making music together ever since. After a few years, they also began hosting jazz concert series in the region. Those eventually became the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, which has taken place annually since 2014. (Dunn was also a host on JAZZ.FM91 between 2011 and 2014.)
Shea’s longtime friend Maria Mavridis is running a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to hold a celebration of life on Sept. 12 at White Oaks Resort and to help pay bills.
Members of the jazz community in Ontario paid their respects following the news of Shea’s passing. See their reactions below.