Sweet Sue Terry began her professional playing career at the age of sixteen, playing for church performances and musical theater. She began playing Jazz gigs while attending the Hartt School, a well-known music conservatory in Hartford. Though she was accepted as a Classical clarinetist, her secret agenda was to study with the late Jazz legend Jackie McLean, which she did for five years. The Hartt School elected her Alumna of the Year in 2001.
Sue first heard Jazz music as a child growing up in Connecticut, where her father had an extensive record collection and she listened to WRVR FM non-stop.