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Canadian Heritage

Joe Sealy


JOSEPH (JOE) SEALY (pianist, organist, composer) was born on August 16, 1939 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His early piano studies were with Oscar Peterson’s sister Daisy Peterson Sweeney and Bob Langlois in Montreal, and later with Darwyn Aitken in Toronto. In his early career he played with bands throughout Quebec before moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1967 and a new career phase as Music Director/Consultant on some of the hit CBC-TV shows airing at the time including ‘Music Hop’, ‘Student Showcase’, and ‘Roundabout’. All the while, he continued to gig with all of the up-and-coming jazz players in the Atlantic, play solo piano in hotel lounges, and hold down studio work.

Sealy relocated to Toronto in 1976, playing piano in various jazz rooms and working as Musical Director for a succession of hit home-grown musicals during the ‘80s including ‘Spring Thaw’, ‘Ain't Misbehavin'’, ‘Indigo’, ‘Lady Day ‘More Sweet Reason’, ‘One More Stop’, and ‘Madame Gertrude’. He has accompanied several leading American musicians and performers aopearing in Canada including Milt Jackson, Joe Williams, Buddy DeFranco, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sonny Stitt, and in 1979 toured throughout the U.S. with the celebrated ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’.

In 1997, Sealy completed a 19-city concert tour in follow-up to the release of his JUNO Award-winning CD, "Africville Suite". Later that year he was featured in a 20-city national tour of Timothy Findlay's "Piano Man's Daughter" with Veronica Tennant and Sylvia Tyson. In 1998, The Joe Sealy Quartet toured Western Canada and performed for two weeks throughout Scandinavia. Recently, Sealy served as Music Director for the acclaimed "Tonya Lee Williams Gospel Jubilee" television special, and a CBC Radio ‘Words & Music’ special entitled ‘East Coasting’. For the past several years, he has been the host of a weekly radio show ("Joe Sealy's Duets") and currently its’ successor “Joe’s Jazz” on JAZZ.FM91 in Toronto.

Joe Sealy continues to perform, produce, compose, act, and with his Seajam Recordings partner Paul Novotny, release jazz recordings, including 2009’s “Songs”. He produced, arranged and performed on vocalist Colin Hunter’s recent release “Mostly About You”

Winner of a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Music Direction in the Toronto production of "Ain't Misbehavin'"
- JUNO Award Winner for “Africville Suite” CD
1998 – Nominated for a Gemini Award for his musical score for the documentary film "The Road Taken"
1999 – JUNO Nominee (with Paul Novotny) for "Blue Jade" CD
2010 – Named anOfficer of the Order of Canada – the highest civilian honour given in Canada, granted to Canadian citizens “for outstanding achievement and service to the country or to humanity at large”