(Pizza Express Dean Street, January 8th 2015, Review by Kai Hoffman)
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. (FULL STORY BELOW).
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!