Le Trio Parisien featuring Juliet Dunn
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Le Trio Parisien featuring Juliet Dunn

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF | AFM

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Jazz Cabaret


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"Juliet Dunn brings her passion for singing to Passion"

The Rotary Club’s Passion will celebrate some of Niagara’s favourite things — wine, food, art and music.

At the centre of the weekend event is jazz singer Juliet Dunn, providing the entertainment.

While Dunn’s energetic and engaging presence is a testament to her passion for life, a life of experiences has cultivated her passion for singing.

A deep connection with the values and wholesomeness of the classic jazz era allowed the British-born singer’s love of the music to blossom.

She spent 13 years in France, pursuing different music interests. Then, her talent for acting led her to Niagara and Shaw Festival in 2002, where she won the Tony Van Bridge Award for most promising newcomer.

After spending two seasons in Shaw Festival’s world within a world in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Dunn’s sense of adventure and appetite for fitness led her to join the St. Catharines YMCA, where she began volunteering.

“It’s great for gigs, because the more you’re out in the community, the more you find the opportunity to play,” Dunn said. “It’s because I was teaching at a gym, Balance Fitness Studio in Virgil, that I’ve been hired to do several different private parties, and every time you do that you network.”

Networking at the fitness studio is how she came into contact with Clifford Brown, a member of the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake and a major proponent of the Passion event.

“He contacted me last summer, and said ‘here’s the idea and here’s what we’re doing,’ knowing that I’m already involved and I sing jazz all over the region,” she said. “Wine and jazz sort of go together, and he thought that I would be a good fit, so it all kind of went from there.”

At a festival that will represent many of the cultural passions of Niagara, Dunn feels she can showcase the importance of community.

Since she joined the YMCA and started to put down some roots, Dunn feels she can call Niagara home.

“I feel like I’m a huge part of the community, whereas I could have spent several years there (at Shaw) and not really felt like part of the community at all,” she said. “I find too, because I teach fitness, that gets me out. I volunteer at the Y and I teach seniors at the CAW and then a couple of other gyms, so that gets me out there, and I work with Carousel Players doing children’s theatre. There’s a lot of stuff.”

She also performs throughout Niagara, oftentimes with a trio or quintet backing her, or as part of the Shea D Duo, comprising herself and fiance Peter Shea.

After agreeing to provide the entertainment for Passion, Dunn found herself taking on a few more roles.

She became a virtual tour guide on Passion’s website, and with the help of Shea, created a radio jingle.

After two and a half years of performing standards abroad, the two welcomed the opportunity to create something original. “Oh my gosh, it was so much fun, and it was so quick,” Dunn said. “Peter started to play chords and then I came up with the melody and the lyrics. I put down key words like passion and wine and sun and summer, and then I tried to string them together.”

While the original intent was to have a commercial created for television, the jingle instead provides background music on the website, and is being heard on Jazz FM.

“For my personality, it’s great, it’s short and sweet and you just create a whole new world,” she said. “So that could be something for the future. I don’t really know how you get into jingle writing, but that was really fun.”

Dunn prefers to go with the flow, however, and she does hope to do some recording in the future.

“I think especially now at my age I’m not aiming to get people dancing. I know the people that listen to jazz, it’s a smaller number,” said Dunn. “For my first album I’m going to release a double album, an album that I do all the songs in French and all the songs in English.”

Regardless of whether or not that vision is realized, Dunn plans to continue performing, especially at festivals such as Passion.

“Festivals are always fun because people listen more. Often when you’re playing in smaller bar-restaurant type venues, especially when you’re doing jazz, it’s kind of a background music, it can be hard for the musicians, and me as well, to focus,” she said. “Knowing people are there to see you just makes the performance that much better, it’s a lot of fun.”

At her Passion performance this weekend, concert-goers can definitely expect to be entertained as Dunn’s concert style mirrors her fun-loving personality.

“I think that’s the whole part I like, with jazz it’s not really structured so you can sort of go with what you like,” she said. “So you’re not sticking to a strict script, you can kind of go where you want with it and that way you’re not getting bored.”

What: Passion Niagara, a celebration of summer in Niagara with local wine tastings and food samples, fine art and entertainment by Juliet Dunn. Presented by the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake in partnership with the wineries and restaurants of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

WHERE: Niagara-on-the-Lake Common, Mary Street and King Street

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 22, 12:30 to 5 p.m.

TICKETS: $100, by phone, 905-468-1950, or online at www.notlrotarytickets.com. Proceeds to benefit the Walker Family Cancer Centre.

INFORMATION: For more information visit www.niagarapassion.com

Kristine Mason

Special to The Standard
- St Catharines Standard

"Jazz singer Juliet Dunn teams up with Niagara Symphony"

There’s not a better combination than jazz and instrumental music.

Niagara-based jazz singer Juliet Dunn will be combining her talents on stage with the Niagara Symphony for a big band swing concert, “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” which takes place May 1 and 2 at the Centre for the Arts at Brock University.

Dunn will be the featured vocalist for the show under the direction of Niagara Symphony conductor Diane Wittry, one of three finalists for the music director position with the symphony.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to share the stage with very talented musicians and celebrate the musicality of the Niagara Region,” said Dunn, who is currently performing in the Middle East and Europe aboard the mega-yacht known as “The World.” Dunn’s current commitment has her out of the country through June 2010, but she negotiated a return flight home to perform with the symphony.

“I couldn’t miss the opportunity ... for the ‘World,’” she said. Dunn is an acclaimed local jazz musician who originally came to Niagara to perform with the Shaw Festival. Last year, her jazz quintet took home “Jazz Group of the Year” at the Niagara Music Awards.

For more information about Juliet Dunn, please visit www.julietdunn.ca. For more information about the Niagara Symphony, please visit www.NiagaraSymphony.org.

- Niagara this Week

"Pirates and Volcanoes and All that Jazz"

Posted 11 months ago
At first, Juliet Dunn was scared Somali pirates might scupper her weekend jazz performance with the Niagara Symphony.

Then a volcanic ash cloud grounded flights and left her homecoming plans up in the air.

Oh, and don't forget the sudden bout of laryngitis.

"Wow, you know it was sort of a hard week," said the laughing jazz singer, who lives in St. Catharines when she's not taking her voice on tour around the globe. "I mean, pirates, a volcano and then you lose your voice? That was really no fun."

Dunn and her husband, pianist Peter Shea, are quite literally world travellers -- they've spent the past three months performing on a 200-metre-long luxury cruise ship called The World.

The unique gig allowed the couple to sing their way through vacation destinations like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

But in late April, it also meant cruising through "Pirate Alley," otherwise known as the Gulf of Aden. Merchant vessels using the busy shipping lanes in the Arabian Sea, between Yemen and Somalia, have regularly been attacked by machine-gun-toting buccaneers over the past two years.

A couple of days after The " World left Oman on April 18 -- Dunn's birthday -- a Liberian

bulk carrier was hijacked about 190 nautical miles to the south.

"It was actually pretty nerve-racking. I wasn't sleeping well at that point," said Dunn, who said the mega-yacht spent about two days in waters the crew called "the war zone."

"We had six snipers on board. Well, that's what we called them. They didn't really like to be called snipers, though. They referred to themselves as 'additional security.'

Luckily, the cruise ship passengers never did see a real, live pirate, although a jittery Dunn was presented with a "pirate birthday cake" along the way.

But as the group floated nervously toward Jordan, news reports came in announcing mass airport closures caused by a major eruption of an Iceland volcano.

As volcanic ash grounded flights all over Europe, Dunn watched on the Internet as chaos overwhelmed the London airport that was supposed to be her last stop before coming home to St. Catharines. Then she lost her voice.

"The doctor said I couldn't sing for a couple of days, so I fiddled around on the drums and tried to stay positive," she recalled.

London's airport backlog -- and Dunn's laryngitis -- improved in time for the songstress to fly back to Canada just a couple of days before the symphony performance.

She said she was determined not to miss it, not even for The World.

"It's an important gig for me," said Dunn, who will immediately wing back to Egypt to rejoin the cruise ship after her weekend performance at Brock University. "When I took the job (aboard the cruise ship), I told them I absolutely had to come back for the symphony show. Otherwise, I wouldn't go."

Dunn originally arrived in Niagara in 2002 to do theatre work with the Shaw Festival. She launched her jazz career in 2005, playing venues throughout the region. The 41-year-old typically performs as part of a trio or quartet, so she jumped at the chance to do a pops concert with the symphony. The big band program, with shows on Saturday and Sunday, is called It Don't Mean a Thing if You Ain't Got That Swing.

"That would be the biggest band I've ever performed with," she said with a laugh. "Those opportunities don't come around every day."

mvandongen@stcatharinesstandard.ca - St Catharines Standard

"Stepping Out"

uliet Dunn experienced success in Europe, but in her new home in Niagara, the singer was a relative unknown. Some computer savvy combined with an abundance of talent is changing all that.
Updated 2 years ago
For many people, the Internet, and all that comes with it-- e-mail, Facebook, and so on -- is a great way to stay in touch with friends and catch up with old ones. For St. Catharines jazz

singer Juliet Dunn, it's a great way to get gigs. New technology helped Dunn land a two-month job on a luxury cruise ship earlier this year, as well as a spot in the lineup at the Sixth Annual Willowbank Jazz Festival this Saturday.

The event, running from 1 to 7 p. m., will also feature the Peter Appleyard Quintet, accompanied by St. Catharines' pianist John Sherwood, and the Frankie Phelan Five + One. All proceeds will go to the School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank.

A relative newcomer to Niagara, Dunn

has already had a storied career. Born in England, Dunn grew up in Vancouver. At 18, she decided to head to France and spend one year working as an au pair.

However, that stretched into 13 years, and at 22, she started singing backup with an all-guy band called Grooveallegiance.

Dunn worked on a couple of songs with the band's guitarist and they were signed to a record deal. Dunn's singles, Flowing Downstream (1994) and The Louder (1995), were hits in Europe, and she appeared in the multi-act concert Dance Machine 5, which also included Kylie Minogue and Jimmy Somerville.

In 2001, Dunn returned to Vancouver and became involved in theatre. The following year, she came to Niagara-on-the-Lake and auditioned for Shaw Festival, landing a role in Caesar and Cleopatra.

She spent two seasons with Shaw, winning the Tony Van Bridge Award for most promising newcomer in 2002, and, in 2003, began working with Carousel Players.

In 2005, Dunn returned to her singing roots and decided to launch a jazz career. In just three years, she's become a fixture around the Niagara club scene, having performed at Casa Mia in Niagara Falls, the Irish Harp Pub in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the former Double Olive in St. Catharines. Last summer, she was also part of the Pink Floyd Niagara show at the Niagara Centre for the Arts in Niagara Falls.

Dunn, who is also a certified fitness instructor, travelled to Hong Kong in early 2007 for a three-month appearance at a hotel, along with her partner, pianist Peter Shea, and a saxophonist.

This year, Dunn, 39, and Shea decided to try and land a similar gig, and the couple looked at Japan and Marrakesh, Morocco. "To be able to work together and go away would be fantastic," she said.

They put together a DVD demo to promote themselves as the Shea D. Duo, and posted it on YouTube. Dunn also joined Facebook, where she found a group for musicians wanting to work overseas.

Through this link, Dunn -- her own web site is www.julietdunn.ca-- met an agent in Vancouver, who books musicians for cruise ships and hotels.

"I thought this would be perfect because I could also visit my family in Vancouver," she said.

She e-mailed the agent, sending him a link to the Shea D. Duo's YouTube posting, but never heard anything back.

It wasn't until she returned from visiting her family in Vancouver in December, that Dunn finally heard from the agent. He had seen the link and wanted to book the duo for a one-month gig on a luxury liner.

The boat sailed from Buenos Aires, Brazil in February, meandering through the Caribbean Islands. Dunn and Shea got their contract extended for another month, and the couple returned on April 1.

"It was a great experience. I didn't think I'd like (ships)," she said. "Waking up in a different country every day was ... really neat."

Some of her favourite places included Dominica, San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, which she said was "like being in France but on an island," and St. Maarten, which is shared by France and the Netherlands.

The Shea D. Duo played seven days a week, working three hours a day.

"It was hard, but we met great musicians," she said.

Since she's been back, Dunn has been busy booking performances for this summer, which will include Fridays at Queen's Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake (with Shea), the opening of South Brook Winery on June 20, the New Vintage Festival on June 21, and Savour Niagara on Sept. 17.

Dunn credits Matt Weaver, who works at Shaw Festival, pianist Randy Stirtzinger and Shea with helping her get her jazz career off the ground.

"Now the momentum is picking up. Before I had to do a lot of pounding," she said. "But I also believe my involvement in the community helps -- my fitness, Shaw, Carousel Players."

In January, just before leaving for the cruise, Dunn received an e-mail from a Willowbank board member asking if she had a demo CD. She did, but it was older. So she quickly put together a new recording and sent it off. And now, she'll perform at her first jazz festival on Saturday.

"I don't know if I felt ready, but I've been propelled into getting ready," she said, laughing.

Rounding out the Juliet Dunn Quintet will be Shea on piano, bassist Clark Johnston, drummer Jeff Luciani and Glendon Smith on saxophone.

At the end of May, Dunn performed in Montebello Park, as part of the Folk Arts Festival, her first festival performance.

For many jazz singers, a restaurant or bar performance means they're mostly background music. But at a festival, musicians are on a stage and people, more often than not, come out to enjoy their music, Dunn said.

"Even at the Folk Arts Festival, the audience is not necessarily there for the jazz, but it was the most captive audience I've ever had," she said. "At a jazz festival, they're there for the music. How great is that for musicians?

"I take my hat off to jazz musicians who have such a love of their art and they play it for people who don't have an appreciation for it."

On Saturday, Dunn's repertoire will include songs close to her heart, including Miss Celie's Blues, from The Color Purple, which was the first song she ever sang in public, at her sister's wedding.

"I decided to start with what I know and I built a show that linked together with what is linked to me in my life," she said.

Dunn will also perform The Song of the Moth, from Archy and Mehitabel, which she appeared in at Shaw Festival in 2002.

"I really connect to that song so I'm going to sell it," she said.

Other selections will include pieces by Billie Holiday, Cheek to Cheek, and the Diana Krall arrangement of Hit That Jive, Jack.

"Then the boys will play a couple of instrumentals so they can shine," Dunn said.

"It's been so fun to put a show actually together, which is what you don't do when you're background. Sometimes, I'll have a little story to tell before I sing and I get to take them on a journey. I think, if you tell little bits and pieces about your life, people like to hear that."

- - -

Dunn's mid-1990s singles, Flowing Downstream and The Louder, were hits in Europe.
- St Catharines Standard

"Dunn, Rhythm Section excited over nominations"

Dunn, Rhythm Section excited over nominations
Awards to be presented next week in Niagara Falls
By Eddie Chau, Staff
Arts & Entertainment
Apr 10, 2009

Niagara-on-the-Lake musicians are represented well at the upcoming Niagara Music Awards.
Taking place April 14 in Niagara Falls, the second Niagara Music Awards event celebrates the talents of local musicians with awards in for a variety of categories.

Niagara-on-the-Lake's own Niagara Rhythm Section returns to the awards with two nominations for Best Bar Band and Best Blues Group of the Year categories. The Niagara Rhythm Section were winners last year in the Blues group category.

"It's pretty cool to be nominated again," said member Steve Goldberger, who is nominated himself in the recording engineer of the year category. "We were really impressed with the awards last year. This year we will be jamming on stage. It's going to be a fun time."

Jazz artist Juliet Dunn is no stranger to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This is the first time Dunn is up for a Niagara Music Award for best jazz performer.

"I was part of Pink Floyd Niagara last year when they won. This year's it's the first time I'm nominated for myself. It's exciting," Dunn said. "I didn't find out about the nomination until a girlfriend of mine told me a few days after the announcement. This is great news."

For more information on the Niagara Music Awards, visit www.niagaramusicawards.com. - Flamborough Review


2011 - C'est Si Bon - Le Trio Parisien featuring Juliet Dunn
2010 - Christmas in Niagara - The Shea D Duo (Peter Shea and Juliet Dunn)
1995 - The Louder - Juliet Dunn (Malavasi) - Airplay / Polygram
1994 - Flowing Downstream - Juliet Dunn (Privat/J Dunn) - Airplay / Polygram



Let Juliet Dunn and her trio take you on a trip to Paris...  Le vrai Paris de nos coeurs..

Smokey cafes and bistros, cozy hideouts, jazz ‘caves’, sleepless nights, the river Seine, Montmartre, et encore...  All of this set to the music of Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Charles Aznavour and more.   Accompanied by the accordion stylings of Neva Tesolin and Mark Lalama to truly transport you to Paris, France.    Bon Voyage!

Having lived in Paris, France for 13 years (all through her 20’s and into her 30’s), Juliet Dunn brings the true essence of Paris, France to each and every performance.  songs such as 'La Vie en Rose', Formidable, Les feuilles mores (Autumn Leaves) and many more...  As a bi-lingual performer, Juliet can either do her show completely 'en Français' or in both languages (English and French).  

Juliet's biography:

Cosmopolitan doesn’t even begin to describe the formidable and talented Juliet Dunn. Juliet’s lineage is Jamaican/English being born in the UK before emigrating with her family to Vancouver, BC Canada. As a young woman she returned to Europe and settled in Paris, France.

It was here that she put out her first CD single and was the lead in the French film, “L’Amerloque” (The Yankee). After 13 years in France, Juliet returned to Canada and performed in for film and television productions as well as in 2 seasons with the renowned Shaw Festival Theatre.  After having relocated to Ontario, Juliet formed her own jazz band (Juliet Dunn Quartet) and started to perform around the Niagara Region. Later, with her husband and musical partner Peter Shea, Juliet performed as a lead jazz vocalist all over the world in both French and English.

Today, Juliet is very active in the Niagara region; along with her husband Peter Shea, Juliet has been running the Twilight Jazz Series in Niagara for 8 years (www.twilightjazz.ca) bringing together both local and international jazz musicians. She also performs regularly in festivals and at various venues and after her 3 years as the radio host of ‘SUNRISE’ on JAZZ.FM91.1 she decided to focus her energy on the TD Niagara Jazz Festival full-time.

Juliet is the co-creator and Executive Director of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival which is now in it's 7th season.  www.niagarajazzfestival.com.  She is proud to bring this exciting Jazz Festival to the Niagara Region featuring preeminent Canadian and internationally acclaimed jazz musicians via concerts, educational initiatives, activities and free events.

Juliet Dunn works tirelessly to keep jazz alive and it is exciting to anticipate where her energy, efforts, and talents will take her in the future. Without a doubt, Juliet Dunn is vital to the Jazz scene of Niagara and beyond.