Began playing in college in Indiana, continued in Boston, NYC, and VA. Spent a few years cruisin', now bluesin' Chicago. Appears in Ragtime, Blues, and Jazz festivals worldwide.
Sue's latest project is a CD entitled "She Loved Christmas" where she does all the lead vocals and piano work with Pete Devine sitting in on drums. Pete is the percussionist from the San Francisco ragtime street band, "Bo Grupus." Included are Sue's arrangements of some of her personal favorites as well as 5 originals. Sue wrote the title track and 2 others, one was written by Jonathan Jensen of the Baltimore Symphony, and another was written by the late playwright and musical composer John Paul Hudson. The scheduled release date is November 15, 2002.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Sue Keller's music training began at the age of four when her mother, also a classically trained pianist, sent her out for lessons. By the time she started college at De Paw in Indiana, she was already an accomplished singer, piano, flute, and guitar player. When the Music Department balked at her professional gigs, she switched majors to Drama with a minor in Music instead. During these years her primary performing instrument was the acoustic guitar with a repertoire of Folk Rock and Country.
The mid-70's brought Sue to the Boston area sharing essentially the same circuit as Bonnie Raitt. Sue's band opened and became a fixture of the newly constructed Faniel Hall Marketplace. She was affectionately dubbed "Licksy" for her blistering keyboard style.
In the mid-80's Sue relocated to New York City, where she evolved into a solo singer/piano player performing in virtually every venue in town, from bars, small clubs, and Greenwich Village coffee houses, to upper East Side establishments. It was during this period that she began to work more and more ragtime into her then predominately Pop/Jazz repertoire.
Although based in New York City in the 80's, Sue took a number of sojourns, courtesy of periodic entertainer stints on cruise ships, that took her all over the world in between land-based gigs. Extended Far-East cruises allowed her to work in her own tours of Australia and Red China.
By the 90's Sue was becoming recognized as one of the world's top Ragtime performers, winning piano competitions, later judging them, and appearing primarily in concert and festival venues in the US, Japan, England, and Germany. She also began an in depth exploration of early Blues during this period, releasing 2 CDs of some the earliest Blues pieces ever composed, some never before recorded.
Also during this period, Sue started her own music publishing house, established her own recording label, all while moonlighting as a voice coach catering primarily to Broadway theater performers. This eventually lead to her serving as the Musical Director for a number of off-Broadway theater productions. Not surprisingly, Sue's own vocal style began to flourish and her musical arrangement skills became sought after, with composers sending her their new compositions and her CDs reflecting more and more vocals and original material.
Yes. This is the same Sue Keller introduced by Alex Trebeck as, "a ragtime piano player from Staten Island, New York." She was a 3-time champion on the TV quiz show, "Jeopardy" in April, 1997. Re-runs of those particular shows are among the select few that have been rebroadcast from time to time. Sue hopes to someday become the first champion to ever re-appear on the celebrity edition of the show.
Sue Keller is presently based in the Chicago area.