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
London Jazz News
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 Williams, Tor 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