Sue Baker was born in Orillia, Ontario and at an early age moved to the 1000 Islands region where her father accepted a teaching position at a local high school. In addition to her mother being a ballroom dance instructor, both parents enjoyed listening and dancing to jazz and swing music. The sounds of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Duke Ellington were almost always present in the family home. Without her realizing it, the seed had been planted and in time would blossom into a true passion and deep appreciation for singing the music of these and many other incredible artists from that era.
By age ten, Sue was singing and playing acoustic guitar and performing both folk and contemporary songs in variety shows. Many compared her young voice to that of Joni Mitchell's. As a teenager she sang with the high school concert and stage bands and after joining a Dixieland Jazz Band in 1978 became a member of the Brockville Musicians Union (Local 384) at the age 17.
Her achievements include touring across eastern Canada with a Toronto based, pop-rock cover band as well as collaborating on her first album "On the Rox" which consisted of 10 original songs written in a folk rock vein. The album was a clear indication that she could seamlessly cross over into different genres, which she later proved again as lead vocalist for AGB (the eclectic All Girl Band). In the 1990's the children's entertainment group H & S Express was formed when Sue joined forces with high school friend and fellow musician, Harold Roobol. The group soon budded into a 4-piece, performing popular children's songs in schools and festivals across eastern Ontario, leading to the release of a second album entitled "Back to School". In 2015, the members of H & S Express were inducted into theBrockville and Area Music & Performing Arts Hall of Fameand in March of 2020 Sue was again honoured, personally, for her contributions to local culture. This induction ceremony is scheduled to take place later this year at the Brockville Arts Centre. Bringing her back to her true roots in 2008 began a two-year singing stint with the Ottawa based Brian Downey Jazz Band. It was then that she recognized her passion for singing the music of The Greats. Her captivating vocal style and energetic performances quickly earned her a dedicated fan base. The opportunity to perform to sold out crowds at the Thousand Islands Jazz and Blues Festivals as well as local corporate and fundraising events has broadened her audience and created enthusiasm among her followers.
In December of 2017 Sue released her third CD entitled "Reminisce", made up of 11 popular jazz and blues standards. Upon listening, Conan DeVries of the Prescott Journal remarked that Sue's "vocal prowess, with its enviable mix of smooth subtlety and torch power, is on full display". The well received album was recorded at Morning Anthem Studios in Cumberland, Ontario where she had the privilege of working with several professional studio musicians including Steve Boudreau (Piano), Normand Glaude (Double Bass and Chromatic Harmonica), Tim Bedner (Guitar), Tim Roberts (Tenor Saxophone), Jeff Asselin (Drums) and Michel Delage (Drums). The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Normand Glaude. Check out clips of these tunes under the "Music" tab.
For the past 8 years Sue has been accompanied by The 1000 Islands Jazz Bandconsisting of Keyboardist, Alan Ogborne, Bassists, Paul Gardiner/Neil Hebert, Alto Saxophonist, Hugh Gardiner and Drummer, Brad Davidson. Being community minded, the band has proudly performed at numerous fundraising events including the annual Palliative Care Telethon and Brockville General Hospital's "Heart and Solstice 2019". To keep their loyal fans coming back for more the group regularly hosts dinner shows at The Grindstone Steak House in Brockville. As a 3, 4, or 5-piece, the band is available for hire to perform at pubs, restaurants, corporate events, weddings, as well as cocktail and private parties. Playing the legendary jazz and blues standards of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Sam Cooke and more, Sue and the 1000 Islands Jazz Band are sure to be the icing on the cake of your next special event.
"We really enjoy what we're doing and find we are filling a gap for those who love this era of music".