Jeremy Sassoon quartet at Pizza Express, Soho – 8th January 2015
There was a real buzz at Pizza Express Dean Street last Thursday, where singer pianist Jeremy Sassoon played to a sold-out crowd. With a fantastic line-up including, Derek Nash on sax (Jools Holland, Sax Appeal, Annie Lennox) Elliot Henshaw drums (Buddy Rich Big Band, Shirley Bassey, Kirk Whalum) and Richard Hammond, bass  (Tony Christie, Imelda May, Tom McRae), the band were immediately in the groove from beat one.

The sets were masterfully crafted, with a variety ranging from Nat King Cole’s haunting Nature Boy to Paul Simon’s playful 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover with the gently swinging Dance Me to the End of Love by Leonard Cohen bringing the audience back from their reverie in between. A major highlight of the show was Jeremy’s No.1 iTunes hit, The Things We’ve Handed Down, which was featured on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and was rated as the Castaway’s Favourite on the BBC.

I could hear a number of influences in Jeremy Sassoon’s intimate and honest vocal style.  With bluesy, soulful inflection, I could hear hints of Ray Charles, Georgie Fame, Van Morrison and even Michael McDonald in Jeremy’s sound. A genuine sense of fun really came across on the more up-tempo numbers like ‘Gone at Last’, and Sassoon’s heart-felt delicacy on songs such as the poignantly beautiful I Could Drink A Case of You brought a melancholy tear to the eye.

It is a mark of true showmanship when a performer knows when to change the speed or the vibe, taking the audience on an emotional journey, and that is exactly what Jeremy Sassoon did at his sold-out show!

Review by Kai Hoffman for London Jazz News

“1958 – a Jazz Jamboree”. Cadogan Hall June 8th 2018.
“How wise to assign pianist/vocalist Jeremy Sassoon to the wrap-up spot for each half of the concert. Extrovert and confident, he really gave the Ray Charles song-book a thorough going-over, bringing out all of Ray’s gritty blues feeling with a romping response”

London Jazz News

Jeremy Sassoon – Ray Charles Revue, Ronnie Scott’s
Sipping a mint julep, former Psychiatric Doctor Jeremy Sassoon coolly opened an exhilarating set paying tribute to the music of Ray Charles, his debut at Ronnie Scott’s. A compilation of hits and lesser-known tunes, Sassoon and his band presented a well-arranged, well-executed 80 minutes of music. Many of the arrangements came from jazz saxophone master Iain Dixon, making the most of the stars of the band: Winston Rollins on trombone, Martin Shaw on trumpet and the superb Mike Smith on drums.
And not forgetting of course, “Ray Charles” himself, Jeremy Sassoon. There’s no doubting from where Sassoon draws his inspiration – whether consciously or sub-consciously, he rocks on the piano stool while playing, head whipping from side to side, getting into the groove of the music.

Sassoon is a charming and witty front-man, one of his skills being that he can make the audience feel immediately at ease, and can almost relate to the crowd on a personal level. Such an atmosphere made the sold-out crowd – presumably brimming with Ray Charles fans – applaud wildly for each tune and soak up the infectious feel-good vibe.

Vocally, the highlights were a raw, aching You Don’t Know Me, and Bye Bye Love, with spot-on backing vocals from Annabel WilliamsTor Hills and LaDonna Harley-Peters.

The Ray Charles Revue certainly has longevity, as a sold out Saturday night crowd will testify.

Sarah Ellen Hughes for London Jazz News