Best known for her beehive-wearing stint with blues diva Candye Kane in the '90's, Sue Palmer has been making her mark in the last decade with her high energy band, the Motel Swing Orchestra, and her flashy boogie woogie stylings. Wearing a couple of pounds of big cocktail rings on each hand, she wails through a very complete blues keyboard vocabulary like the veteran she is. She has performed with many of the legends of the boogie genre, playing double piano with Marcia Ball, Hadda Brooks, Sonny Leyland, Steve Lucky, Jeannie Cheathem, Ricky Nye, Mr. Boogie Woogie (from the Netherlands), Mike Seeley, Caroline Dahl, Wendy Dewitt, Lisa Otey, and Doña Oxford. Sue, known widely as San Diego's Queen of Boogie Woogie, has been honored by her city for her cultural contributions by having a day named after her (March 25th, 2008), played at the Arches Piano Stage in Cinncinnatti (2008), won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis for Best Self Produced CD 2008 ("Sophisticated Ladies") from the Blues Foundation, won numerous San Diego Music Awards for her albums and bands, including Best Blues Album 2010 for her first solo piano album "After Hours," and in December 2010, won the "Jim Croce Award for Excellence and Dedication to Music, 2010," from his widow, Ingrid Croce. Jan/Feb 2010 brought her a stint as Musical Director for the world premiere of Candye Kane's play, "Toughest Girl Alive," at Moxie Theatre in San Diego. The show played to sold out crowds and rave reviews, and included one of Sue's own compositions (with Kane), Highway of Tears (vocal version of Blue and Tan).
"Her legs bowed intently, the laughter dancing above her fingertips, like a pool shark she is right on the money. Madame Palmer sets free the walking bass and the eight to the bar so inherent in this style of music. This musician possesses all the secrets of Boogie Woogie."
Le Monde, Paris, 1997
For ten years, Sue was the musical partner of singer/recording artist Candye Kane. They toured France and most of Europe, including Scandinavia, Greece, and Turkey. Their travels also took them to Reunion Island, Canada, Australia, and all over the U.S. Under the moniker Sue "Beehive" Palmer with Candye Kane and the Swingin' Armadillos, she appeared on the Penn & Teller Show and the Roseanne Show, where Sue acted as the talk show band leader (1999). Sue is a featured artist on all four of Kane's CDs under the Antones and Sire labels. Sue's instrumental composition "Beehive" was featured on Kane's "Diva La Grande" CD, and Sue and Candye co-wrote the title tune on Kane's CD "Swango." "Swango" is also featured in the documentary "The Girl Next Door," a biography of porn star Stacy Valentine produced by National Public Radio's Christine Fugat in 2000.
Sue has appeared onstage and/or recorded with Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Teddy Morgan, Lavelle White, Kim Wilson, Marcia Ball, Toni Price, The Paladins, Roy Gaines, Rosie Flores, Big Sandy and the FlyRite Boys, Dave Alvin, Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos), Earl Thomas, Del Rey, Lea Delaria, Pussy Tourette, Buddy Blue, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Fliers, Walter Wolfman Washington, and the Subdudes. Sue backed up Floyd Dixon on a compilation album to Tom Waits, "New Coat of Paint." She has been included in the "Queens of Boogie Woogie" Show in Berkeley, CA, at the Freight & Salvage, in 2001-2004. Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra appeared in the San Diego Blues Festival 2002, Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Mammoth Jazz Jubilee (2005-2010), San Diego Thanksgiving Jazz festival (2008-2010), Ocean Beach Jazz festival (2007) and numerous festivals throughout the years in San Diego. Highlighting her lifetime favorite performances was a Boogie Woogie Extravaganza honoring the original Queen of the Boogie, 85 year old singer songwriter pianist Hadda Brooks... who joined Sue, along with Bay area favorite Wendy Dewitt and Frenchman Philippe Lejeune at San Diego's Dizzy's. That was Hadda's next to last performance. She died November 21s
Deejha Marie - Lead Vocal
Sharon Shufelt - Drums, Backing Vocal
Pete Harrison - Upright Bass
Steve Wilcox - Electric Guitar
April West - Trombone, Backing Vocal
Jonny Viau - Saxophone
"Boogie-Woogie and Motel Swing" 1999
"Soundtrack to a B Movie" 2001
"Live at Dizzy's" 2002
"In The Green Room" 2005
"Sophisticated Ladies" 2007 - WON THE BLUES FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE AWARD 2008, for Best Self Produced CD!
"On Air" 2009 recorded live for KSDS radio.
"After Hours" solo piano. 2010 recorded live
"One Night In Belgium" 2011 recorded live with Candye Kane
"Party Favorites" 2012
RADIO STATIONS PLAYING SUE'S MUSIC
— Dave Radlauer's syndicated show "Jazz Rhythms-Women of Neo-Swing" (see JAZZHOT.Bigstep.com for stations and times across the country
— KSDS, 88.3 FM, San Diego Jazz radio
— "Rockin' Blues Today," Radio RCC, Umbertide, Italy, DJ Simone Bagelli
— "Rootstime" Radio Contact, 107.9 FM, Belgium
— Bay-FM, Byron Bay, Australia
— Kristall radio, Milano, Italy
— Goodtime Blues Radio, FM 91.3, Buenas Aires, Argentina
— "Pickup" Radio Show, Cadiz, Spain
— Radio Economia FM 104.8, "El Autoblues", Basque Country, Spain
— Radio Brawo 92.8 FM, "Z Bluesem na ty" Poland
— Radio Holstebro, Denmark
— 96.1 FM Radio, Sant Boi, "Born to Be Bad" Show, Barcelona, Spain
— 88.9 FM, WSHA, Raleigh, North Carolina
— 89.3 FM, Washington DC, "Don't Forget the Blues," by Elliott Gross
— Radio Comunidade FM 104.9, Brazil
Party Favorites (samples)
One Night in Belgium (samples)
After Hours, solo piano (sampler)
On Air (samples)
Sophisticated Ladies (samples)
In The Green Room (samples)
Live at Dizzy's (samples)
Soundtrack to a B Movie (samples)
Boogie Woogie & Motel Swing (samples)
LA HORA DEL BLUES RADIO SHOW, 2013
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For ten years Sue Palmer has been the usual piano player in the band of great singer, amazing entert...For ten years Sue Palmer has been the usual piano player in the band of great singer, amazing entertainer and show woman Candye Kane. Together they have visited many countries in Europe including France, Greece, Turkey, Scandinavia, etc and have also travelled to Canada, Australia and many other countries, not to mention their extensive tours around United States. Now Palmer comes with five excellent albums, where she shows she can play many different styles, with an special accent on swing, blues, rock and, of course, boogie woogie she has an especial taste for. Before some followers of my reviews ask me to describe what boogie-woogie is and talk about the development of this musical genre, let me write a few lines about the technique and history of boogie-woogie to make listeners understand better the music Sue Palmer performs in some songs of these five albums. Boogie-woogie is a kind of piano playing of an Afroamerican origin that exclusively uses the eight and twelve bars patterns of classic blues. It employs a non-stop striking rhythm figures played with the left hand, while the right hand makes a constant series of quick, captivating evocative sticky notes and draws melodic patterns. The result is a rich polyphony, with a vigorous rhythmic pulse and a powerful, swinging captivating expression, which sometimes reaches an irresistible and frantic climax difficult to control. Boogie-woogie was born in the mid 20’s in the south of the USA and expanded to Midwest, especially in St. Louis and Kansas City, to finally settle in Chicago until little by little and gradually disappeared at the end of the 40’s. Among the many great piano players who represent this style, the most reputed and popular ones undoubtedly were Albert Ammons, Meade 'Lux' Lewis and Pete Johnson. You will find In each and every one of these five cds an excellent rooster of songs, including very careful arrangements, perfectly performed by a bunch of very professional musicians who back her, with the exception of the album "After Hours", where she plays alone only backed by an acoustic grand piano, giving us a selection of delicious blues and boogies, completely different from the music included in the other records, which are more focused on the forties and fifties swing, or in the album "One Night In Belgium" where you will find Candye Kane as a singer, with a mixture of rock, rhythm and blues and Americana music, but always with the boogie-woogie surrounding the whole record, like in the song "Boogie Woogie Country Girl". You may know Sue Palmer is considered as one of the best actual players of this musical style, together with Wendy DeWitt, Lisa Otey, Doña Oxford, Marcia Ball and some other more, who have all reached the honor to be the 21st Century 'Queens Of Boogie-Woogie'. In short words, here are five amazing cd's, that bring us excellent samples of her personal elegance, whether playing alone, surrounded by a full orchestra or simply backing singer Candye Kane. GREAT.
San Diego Troubadour, 2012
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Anyone who has been to a show by Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Orchestra will let you know that thi...Anyone who has been to a show by Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Orchestra will let you know that this ensemble is a rambunctious crew, prone to spontaneous outbursts and high-energy performances. And though all the veteran musicians of the Orchestra have been with the ensemble for years and years, the enthusiasm and sense of fun that have distinguished this band since its inception still shine.
The good times continue with Party Favorites, the latest release from Palmer and her Orchestra. Though a studio effort, recorded at PHPRO Music, and engineered by Pete Harrison (Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t he the MSO bass player?), Party Favorites nonetheless captures the excitement and joy of one of the MSO’s live performances. Packed with 11 gems from decades past – there are hits from Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, and the Andrews Sisters, as well as a few more recent offerings – toes are ensured to tap and some folks might even get their dancing shoes on.
The rhythm section of drummer Sharon Shufelt and Pete Harrison on bass remains solid. Shufelt plays with pizzazz, and Harrison defines a solid down beat. I particularly liked the swampy New Orleans feel that they give “Lovey Dovey,” a 1950’s hit from the Clovers that opens the disk. As well, it’s a nice touch for Harrison to use his bass to introduce the melody on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” I’ve always liked Steve Wilcox’s guitar playing. He draws on some of the best blues masters of the fifties. And his retro sound and approach add an intriguing edge to the band’s take on Henry Mancini’s theme to the Pink Panther.
Deejha Marie has always been a self-assured singer, comfortable with her phrasing and delivery. Her approach exemplifies confidence and élan, and nowhere is this more evident than on Party Favorites. With an easy delivery, trombonist April West sings “Cow Cow Boogie.” Whoda thunk that this talented instrumentalist, who does some really fine soloing when she’s playing her horn, could sing? While we’re talking about singers, the addition of Sharifah Muhammad adds a new dimension to the MSO. Her powerful and dynamic delivery reignites the soul of the Ray Charles’ classic “Nighttime Is the Right Time.” I can’t help but think, “Wow!” when I hear this young woman sing.
As with fine wine and artwork by dead painters, there are some notable things about the Motel Swing Orchestra that have improved with age. The vocal harmonies are silky smooth, in particular on “Lovey Dovey,” which opens the disk, and the Yiddish-based jazz standard “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen.” And of course, with her boogie-woogie piano serving as the backbone of the Motel Swing Orchestra, there is the woman who brings it all together: Sue Palmer. There is a lot to be said for someone who can lead a band for years and years and keep the music as fun and exciting as it ever was.
The Reader, 2012
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Long-anointed the Queen of Boogie Woogie, Sue Palmer got her first taste of fame while touring the w...Long-anointed the Queen of Boogie Woogie, Sue Palmer got her first taste of fame while touring the world with blues-diva Candye Kane, even if she didn’t connect the dots with her own rising celebrity.
“I met lots of wonderful, famous people,” she says, “especially through playing exclusively with Candye in the ’90s, but I’m not much of a celebrity stalker.” Palmer also served as musical director for The Toughest Girl Alive, Kane’s autobiographical play that opened in 2010 at the Moxie in San Diego before moving on to NYC. The duo still frequently performs together, most recently at the March 24 Croce’s benefit concert to raise money for expenses related to Kane’s upcoming cancer surgery.
Palmer’s local cred was initially attained while fronting Tobacco Road, which won seven San Diego Music Awards from 1986 through 1994. She went on to play with a roster of national female headliners, including Marcia Ball, Jeannie Cheatham, and Caroline Dahl.
Now a local legend with the trophy shelf to prove it, Palmer’s Sophisticated Ladies (featuring her seven-piece Motel Swing Orchestra) took home Best Self-Produced Album at the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and her After Hours full-length won Best Blues Album at the 2010 San Diego Music Awards.
The Sue Palmer Quintet performs downtown at Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar on Wednesday, April 11, and Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra hit Tio Leo’s in Bay Park on Friday, April 13.
WHO’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) “Stephanie Porter is a fantastic jazz vocalist, and I always enjoy her awesome accompanists.”
2) “Jo Miller & Her Burly Roughnecks. Jo used to be in a band called Ranch Romance and, when I first saw her, they opened for k.d. lang. This band is even better.”
3) “Ray Skjelbred is a wonderful, soulful traditional jazz piano player. Sometimes he’s in jazz festivals that my band is in, and I get to hear him play lots of cool, haunting stuff from the ’20s.”
4) “Retta Christie & the Smart Fellas are a Western swing band — although, when I first heard her, she was playing cocktail snare and singing, delightfully, with Ray Skjelbred and a clarinet player.”
5) “T-Bone Walker is always great. I even heard cuts of his at the Rock and Roll Museum by the Space Needle in Seattle.”
WHAT SONG BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“‘The Boogie and the Blues,’ by Camille Howard. She was a piano player and singer from the ’40s and ’50s who played with Roy Milton & His Solid Senders and under her own name. This song is a wonderful boogie-woogie tune that I’ve also recorded. The lyrics talk about ‘Going on a cross-country cruise, playing the boogie and the blues.’ This has pretty much been my life for the past 50 years or so.”
MOST EMBARRASSING CD YOU OWN?
“Jimmy Vargas & the Black Dahlias. I got this one in the Netherlands, and it’s really creepy and sexist, but it wonderfully portrays the mindset of the Black Dahlia fiends so into the death [of actress Elizabeth Short]. I find myself fascinated and repulsed with that whole subject.”
BEST DANCE FLOOR IN TOWN?
“Lacey J’s Roadhouse in Santee. It’s probably the oldest, too!”
FAVORITE FREE HANGOUT?
“The beach is the best, but second is probably Balboa Park, especially the Rose Garden, Florida Canyon, and Palm Canyon.”
MOST MEMORABLE CONCERT?
“In 1969 I saw Charles Lloyd and Keith Jarrett, plus bass and drum, at the Santa Monica Auditorium. They played and played and the audience kept wanting more encores, until Keith Jarrett was so exhausted that he just flopped on the keys. Amazing!”
“I sprained my ankle while trying to learn how to slide into second base. At the age of 30. That’s what made it the worst.”
THINGS YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?
“Coffee and chardonnay wine.”
1) “I’d like to have a radio show sometime.”
2) “I want to travel to Cuba, the African desert, and Buenos Aires.”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
“The café on the O.B. pier, to eat mango pancakes while watching the surfers.”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
1) “I went to Point Loma High School.”
2) “I have keratoconus, which affects the eyes.”
3) “I’m a bird watcher.” ¦
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE? “When I was twelve, I started playing by ear and played ‘Let’s Get Together,’ from the Parent Trap movie where Haley Mills played twins. We’re both around the same age, and friends used to say I looked like her.”
EVER BEEN ROBBED? “Some plants got stolen off the porch once.”
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? “Definitely, especially magical musical moments.”
BIGGEST REGRET? “Not being in my high school band, although [it was] by choice.”
FAVORITE MOVIE BASED ON A BOOK? “Depending on my mood, Swiss Family Robinson or Tom Jones.”
Southland Blues, 2011
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Thirty years in the music industry is a long time for any performer, particularly for blues artists ...Thirty years in the music industry is a long time for any performer, particularly for blues artists and especially for women blues performers. For Sue Palmer, the “Queen of Boogie Woogie,” it’s been a star-studded blues career with many rewards and awards. The swing, blues and boogie-woogie piano player has toured the world and played music festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe as the pianist for blues diva Candye Kane. But it’s her solo and band recording as Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra that have generated the most awards. Her fourth release, Sophisticated Lady won an International Blues Challenge Award for “Best Self Produced CD” in 2008, her third release, Live at Dizzy’s won “Best Blues Album 2002/2003 and her solo piano album, Sue Palmer After Hours won “Best Blues Album 2010” from the San Diego Music Awards.
The San Diego native even had a day named for her by the San Diego City Council: March 25th, 2008 was officially declared “Sue Palmer Day” for her many years of cultural contributions playing the city’s festivals, clubs and celebrations. Following her most recent award in 2010, Sue received the “Jim Croce Music Award” for excellence and dedication to music from the late recording artist’s widow, Ingrid Croce, owner of San Diego’s jazz/blues club Croce’s Bar and Restaurant.
“They call me the ‘Queen of Boogie Woogie’” says Sue, speaking about her career. “As far as the future, I’d like to take that title as far as I can.”
Sue got started in music early. She was born into a musical family which encouraged her to express herself through music. Her early role models were her musical aunts: a saxophonist and piano player and her mother who played percussion. Says Sue, “It was kind of required to participate musically; that’s what we did when we got together.”
Later, her role models included swinging blues and boogie woogie recording artists Hadda Brooks, Julia Lee, and Camille Howard along with Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
After graduating high school, she became politically active in the Women’s Movement where she was able to showcase her talents playing at local meetings and events. Playing in small venues allowed her to develop her own style and exposed her to many other talented performers who mentored her along the way.
Sue’s first professional band was in Tobacco Road, a band she formed with well known jazz and swing bass player Preston Coleman. Over the next 15 years, the band played regular gigs at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Of Coleman she says, “Working with Preston was like going to college to learn my craft. He was the real thing – a man who was a fantastic performer and arranger and was kind and generous with us.”
While fronting Tobacco Road, Sue met Candye Kane and soon after the two began collaborating on music. Later, Sue was invited to join Kane’s band as piano player which led to world tours through the ‘90s playing club dates and festivals in Canada, Australia, France, Holland, the Netherlands and United States.
Sue was known, during these years, for her memorable get-up: a two foot high beehive hairdo, retro shades and piles of rings and bracelets that jangled as she played her lightening fast keyboard. Their act was so popular, the band averaged 250 dates per year. While it was an exhilarating experience for her as a musician, it was also very draining so in 1999, Sue decided to leave the band.
“It was hard to be away from friends and significant others,” she recalled, “especially because we didn’t have Internet and it was really expensive making phone calls. Eventually, I quit because I was just tired of being on the road so much.”
Back in San Diego Sue launched her own band in 2000, “Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra” and over the past decade has performed regularly at Croce’s in San Diego as well as the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the Glendale Kiwanis Jazz Festival, the Mammoth Jazz Festival, the Ocean Beach Jazz Festival and the Adams Avenue Street Fair to rave reviews.
In addition, she has collaborated with a number of recording artists. She’s featured on Tom Waits’ compilation, New Coat of Paint (Manifesto Records, 2000), Earl Thomas’ The Elector Studio Sessions (2000), Michele Lundeen’s self produced, Song Inside Me (2004), produced and contributed to Dayna Carroll’s CD Yesterday, Today, Forever (2008), and produced the late, award-winning songwriter Janell Rock’s CD, Janell Rock, Performer. She’s also appeared on stage or recorded with Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Kim Wilson, Walter Wolfman Washington and Marcia Ball, to name a few.
In addition to writing new music for her five, independent releases, Sue has continued to write and perform with Candye Kane. Her latest role is as musical director for Kane’s new biographical music show, Toughest Girl Alive, for which she wrote “Highway of Tears,” one of the featured songs. Based on Kane’s life’s experiences, the show features music, multimedia and gorgeous set design highlighting Kane’s colorful memoirs. The show opened in January and runs until February 6, 2011 at the Moxie Theater in San Diego.
Sue has also performed as part of the show “Queens of Boogie Woogie” with piano players/singers Lisa Otey, Dona Oxford and Wendy Dewitt at Berkeley, CA’s Freight & Salvage and the 2010 Ocean Beach Jazz Festival. But the most special show was in 2002 with the late, original Queen of Boogie Woogie, singer-songwriter-pianist Hadda Brooks who died later that year. Sue will again join the Queens of Boogie Woogie for a show at Yoshi’s in Oakland on April 25, 2011.
For the present, Sue enjoys her role as band leader with Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra. The band’s lineup includes lead singer Deejha Marie, trombone player April West, drummer Sharon Shufelt, guitarist Steve Wilcox, sax player Jonny Viau and bass player Pete Harrison, with Sue on piano and accordion.
Blues Review 2010
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Sue Palmer "After Hours" With nearly four decades of professional experience behind her, San Diego-...Sue Palmer "After Hours"
With nearly four decades of professional experience behind her, San Diego-based pianist SUe Palmer has always been the consummate ensemble player who held down a featured role for a decade in the band of blues diva Candye Kane and led her own band, Sue Palmer&Her Motel Swing Orchestra. But Lately, Palmer has been feeling the effects of a stop-and-go economy and, after years of keeping a seven-piece band working several nights a week, she's resorted to some solo work to keep her calendar filled.
Music aficionado/arts patron/sound engineer Hiro Ikezi invited Palmer into his sprawling estate in the exclusive Rancho Santa Fe neighborhood of San Diego and put her to work on his Bosendorfer grand piano. So here is the unmasked Palmer, sitting alone at the piano with no one to share the spotlight with.
The results are at once intoxicating and illuminating. Palmer digs deep into her repertoire for songs that not only fit her style, but also expand it a bit, pulling songs from as far back as the 1920s to complement her own five originals here.
Palmer struts on Avery Parrish's "After Hours," Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose," Lovie Austin's "Frog Tongue Stomp," Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose Boogie," the Gershwin Brother's "Nice Work If You Can Get It," and Sidney Bechet's "I'm Speaking My Mind." Clearly, these performances show off a broader range that we haven't often given the boogie woogie maven credit for.
Yet, by mixing those songs along with her own compositions such as "Boogie Noir," "Room Service Boogie," and "Domino Boogie," Palmer easily keeps the interest of listeners through all 13 instrumentals.
Perhaps the most interesting song here is the combination of Joe Sullivan's runaway train epic "Little Rock Getaway" with Palmer's "Ferraday Breakdown," turning a rollicking piano number into a tribute to the original piano pumper, Jerry Lee Lewis. You know wherever they are, jazz, blues, and rock piano players are smiling at the full-throttle sounds coming from Palmer's keyboards
American Rag 2010
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Sue (Palmer with Hal Smith's Hayriders,) called the "Queen of Boogie Woogie," is the only female in ...Sue (Palmer with Hal Smith's Hayriders,) called the "Queen of Boogie Woogie," is the only female in the lineup(Sacramento Jazz Festival/Pianorama). A high energy performer, she easily matches the men in skill, experience, and knowledge as well as in versatility and personality. This multitalented pianist/accordianist/bandleader/producer can blaze away not just on boogie but also, on blues, jazz, swing, country, and just about any genre you can name. She's performed in the US, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, and Australia.
Sue plays with such style, energy, and fun that she seems to put the room in motion. You sure can't miss the beat when she plays Freddie Slack's Down the Road Apiece or her version of Fats Waller's Honeysuckle Rose. Next up is her original Sashimi Mimi, a takeoff on Fujiyama Mama. She's wearing a couple pounds of big cocktail rings on each hand, and their reflections sparkle against the piano's fallboard.
Her most elegant number is Avery Parrish's After Hours, delivered with such ease that many onlookers don't realize how difficult it is to play. She wraps up her 20 minutes with a medley of Little Rock Getaway by Joe Sullivan and her own Ferraday Breakdown. Sue hasn't stopped smiling the whole time!
San Diego Union Tribune 2010
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LA JOLLA — In a way, the cancer survivors celebration Sunday at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla s...LA JOLLA — In a way, the cancer survivors celebration Sunday at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla served as an unofficial graduation ceremony for Mary Ann MacMillan.
MacMillan, a former real estate agent from Cardiff, is wrapping up a year of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to treat tongue cancer.
Now she has started thinking more about life after her disease.
“I believe your life doesn’t end because of cancer,” said MacMillan, 67.
That sentiment was shared by many of the 200 people who attended the midday event that marked the 23rd annual national Cancer Survivors Day.
Among the cancer survivors was San Diego boogie-woogie and blues pianist Sue Palmer, who was treated for breast cancer eight years ago. Palmer talked about her journey during a 20-minute musical performance.
“I used to think that I just wanted to make money and play,” Palmer said. “Now, I really appreciate the musical moment.”
Battling cancer can be one of the most challenging experiences of any person’s life, but the difficulties don’t necessarily end when the disease disappears.
PHOTO BY DAVID BROOKS
Many former cancer patients deal with depression and other psychological issues that resemble post-traumatic stress disorder. The toxic treatments they undergo while being ill can lead to a wide range of physical problems later in life, such as damaged nerves, a diminished sex life, heart problems and a risk of developing other cancers.
The event put on by Scripps Green could get more crowded in the coming years.
More people are likely to get cancer in the future as the population ages and advances in the treatment of heart disease extends life spans, said Dr. Michael Kosty, medical director of the cancer center at Scripps Green.
Cancer surpassed heart disease in 2009 to become the No.?1 killer in San Diego County, and the same switch is likely on the national and international level.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 11,750 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the county and as many as two-thirds of them will survive their illnesses, based on the latest cancer mortality rates.
Nationally, more than 11 million people have survived cancer, representing nearly 4 percent of the U.S. population.
Many cancer patients display an uncanny ability to deal with their difficulties and nurture the most important things in their lives, Scripps Clinic oncologist Dr. Darren Sigal told the crowd that gathered for the local event.
“Every day I am focused on valuing life, people and relationships,” Sigal said. “These are the things that people outside this sphere easily lose sight of.”
Cathy Garvey, a Scripps dietitian, said cancer survivors can increase their post-illness years by adopting a healthy diet that can help minimize inflammation, which has been tied to a higher risk of developing certain cancers and other diseases.
“As survivors, sometimes we overlook those day-to-day opportunities to keep healthy,” Garvey said.
When preparing a plate of food, make sure two-thirds consist of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans, she said.
Eat less red meat, avoid processed meats altogether, cut down on sugary drinks, toss out foods containing trans fats, snack on nuts and exercise at least 30 minutes a day, Garvey said.
“Is this food going to help my body or is it going to promote disease?” she told attendees to ask themselves.
Palmer told the gathering that playing piano offered solace during and after her cancer surgery and treatments.
The illness helped her focus on the things that meant the most to her.
Palmer worked with her doctors to relieve numbness in her fingers that was caused by some of the treatments, and several local music club owners such as Ingrid Croce scheduled her gigs around chemotherapy sessions.
“It’s nice to have a passion to go back to when you don’t know what is going to happen,” Palmer said.
MacMillan, the tongue cancer patient who attended the celebration with her daughter, called Palmer’s message inspiring.
“The more we can hear that, the more we can make our spirit uplifted,” she said.
San Diego Troubadour 2009
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"On Air, a recording of a recent KSDS "Jazz Live" performance broadcast of Sue Palmer and Her Motel ..."On Air, a recording of a recent KSDS "Jazz Live" performance broadcast of Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra gives us everything that we've grown to expect throught the years_some snapping fingers, tapping toes, and maybe a smile or two.
Palmer's forte is barrelhouse boogiewoogie, and for such music you won't find a better piano plaer in town. Throughout this disk, boogie or other strong rhythms make up the musical backbone, fromm the rocking "Mustang Sally" and "Big BOss Man" to the up tempo "Sue's Boogie." Even Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues," usually given a jazz treatment, is put through the boogie-woogie processor.
While Palmer's background is the barrelhouse, the other musicians of the MSO have obviouslyu been steeped in other genres, such as swing, blues, and jazz. There may even be a few reformed rock-n-rollers among the ensemble. You might expect a cacophony from this mulsical amalgamation, blut the effrect is addictive in a good way. During the performance the soloists have a playful tug-o'-war with the rhythm section to see which direction the music will take. A little blues, jazz, and maybe a little be bop from April West, Jonny Viau, and Carol Chaikin, who plat the trombone and saxophones. Ang guitarist Steve Wilcox channels some ancient Chicago bluesman on his solos. It would be interesting to find about the time machine he has too. The one he uses go back to 1951 to buy those amplifiers that give him the best guitar sound possible.
While we're concentrating on the MSO personnel we should mention that abasseist Pete Harrison and Sharon Shufelt hold the arhythm section together. Shufelt plays with verve and spunk. There is not a livelier drummer in San Diego. Her sense of time is so good you can set your watch by her. Continuing her long association with Palmer, Deejha Marie sings on a few of the tunes, including a fairly up tempo rendering of "East of the Sun." KSDS radio personlaity Cynthia Hammond joins in on a coupole of the vocals as well. With about as much moxie as anyone should be allowed to have, Lady Dottie steals the show on "MUstang Sally" and "Big BOss Man," singing with the rough edge that those tunes call out for.
Palmer's playing and compositions are always cleer and fun, and none more so than "Swango." As the musicians make their way thraough a section of said tango, the anticipation that they have to take the tlune into the swing section buiolds and builds. You can hear how m;uch fun that they're having with it. The ninth greatest composition in the history of Western Civilization is is Billy Strayhonr's "Take The A Trrain." No other tune mixes pluck and elegance like this one, and the MSO performs it to a fare-thee-well."
International Blues Challenge, 2008
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Blues Lovers United of San Diego (BLUSD) congratulates Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra afte...Blues Lovers United of San Diego (BLUSD) congratulates Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra after their new CD, “Sophisticated Ladies”, was selected by BLUSD to be considered for the Best Self-Produced CD award. The award is given each year by the Blues Foundation in Memphis TN.
“Sophisticated Ladies” was chosen by BLUSD’s selection committee from among several CDs entered by San Diego area blues artists.
BLUSD is the San Diego affiliate of The Blues Foundation. Affiliates around the world are permitted to send one CD to the Foundation for consideration.
CDs are evaluated on Musical Performance, Audio Quality of the Presentation, Cover Art and Design, and Credits and Liner Information. The award has been given each year since 2005 by the Blues Foundation.
The winners will be announced during the festivities of The International Blues Challenge (IBC), which will take place January 30 – February 1, 2008 in Memphis.
Jazz in the Park Program, 2007
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"While Sue's mother grew up in the Texas panhandle, Sue grew up in San Diego and started playing mus..."While Sue's mother grew up in the Texas panhandle, Sue grew up in San Diego and started playing music with her relatives, who would all get together and jam at family functions. In the '80's, Sue performed with then-local-now-famous comedians Kathy Najimy, Mo Gaffney, and Whoopie Goldberg in the feminist groups "Hot Flashes" and "Ms.B.Haven." She's toured the world, written soundtracks, and created and performed her own multimedia one-woman show. But we know and love her as band leader and piano player for one of our most popular TGIF groups. Wigglin' boogie-woogie, Ellington sophistication, old-time Americana, vintage blues, a little Hawaiian spice-Sue Palmerand Her Motel Swing Orchestra deliver it all. While the musicianship is impeccable, it's the warm, expansive, join-in-don't-be-shy sense of fun that we always remember.
L.A. Jazz Scene, 2003
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Glendale Jazz Jubilee Review "Sue Palmer was leader and wonderful boogiewoogie pianist who seemed...Glendale Jazz Jubilee Review
"Sue Palmer was leader and wonderful boogiewoogie pianist who seemed to put the room into motion. I didn't see anyone not moving to the music. April West's outstanding trombone playing left me speechless, especially when she removed her right shoe and played it with her foot for one tune! Drummer Sharon Shufelt drove the band and vocalist Deejha Marie captured the audience with her first note and didn't turn them loose until the set ended. This San Diego based band with vocalist was one of the highlights of this festival, and a must see feature."
--Harvey Barkan, LA Jazz Scene, August, 2003, re: Glendale Kiwanis Jazz Festival 2003
Our sets are a mix of original songs and unique cover tunes. Music from Duke Ellington, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Big Joe Turner, Camille Howard, Hadda Brooks, Cy Coben, and Peppermint Harris and many more...
Sample Set 1
2. Jakob's Boogie-Woogie Lullaby - by Sue Palmer
3. Lady Be Good
4. Don't Go No Further
5. Bill Bailey
6. I Don't Hurt Anymore
7. Chattanooga Choo Choo
8. Milton's Boogie
9. Shorty's New Shoes
10. Lovie Dovey
11. Mess Around
12. Something's Got a Hold On Me
13. Every Night
14. Nighttime is the Right Time
15. Just a Fool
16. Soundtrack to a 'B' Movie - by Sue Palmer
Sample Set 2
1."Soundtrack to a B Movie" - by Sue Palmer
2. "Sue's Boogie" - by Sue Palmer
3. Your Mother's Son-in-Law" - by Alberta Nichol & Mann Holiner
4. Room Service Boogie - by Sue Palmer
5. Motel Mambo by Sue Palmer & Yodit
6. Jakob's Boogie Woogie Lullaby - by Sue Palmer
7. How Come You Do Me Like You Do? - by Austin Bergere
8. Anywhere Anyplace Anytime - by Hadda Brooks
9. Pink Champagne - by Joe LIggins
10. Deejha's Boogie - formerly Maggie's Boogie by Peppermint Harris, additional words by Sue Palmer
Sample Set 3
1.Down The Road a Piece - by Raye w/additional lyrics by Jonny Viau
2. Swango - by Sue Palmer
3. The Boogie and The Blues - by Camille Howard
4. NIght and Day - by Roy Milton
5. Walkin' - by Sue Palmer
6. Beehive - by Sue Palmer
7. Mood Indigo - by Duke Ellington
8. Saint Louis Blues - by W.C. Handy
9. Tenderly - by Gross & Lawrence
10. Do Lord, Do Remember Me - traditional
2. Sweet Lorraine
3. Frog Tongue Stomp
4. Gimme a Pigfoot
5. Piano Roll Blues
6. Petite Fleur
7. Black and Tan
8. Honky Tonk Train
1. Ain't Misbehavin'
3. Honeysuckle Rose
4. St. Louis Blues
5. How Come you Do Me Like You do?
6. Bye Bye Blackbird
7. Why Don't You Do Right?
8. My Buddy
9. Mood Indigo
10. Sugar in My Bowl