Jersey Jazz Magazine

Asbury Park Press
May 2, 2013

Big-band vocalist Sandy Sasso has a name legends are made of.

Read the article >>

Jazz Inside Magazine, March, 2013

Jazz Inside Magazine
March 2013 - CD REVIEW [Hands On]

On this, her fourth recording venture, Sasso returns with her customary mix of eclectic classics and original tunes to keep the listener thoroughly enthralled and entertained. With Hands On, the leader delves into a treasure trove of the Great American Songbook, classic pop/rock and assorted odds and ends.

Sasso’s greatest gift seems to be the manner in which she delivers a lyric. She is a great interpreter of song; able to distill delicate emotion from words and make the listener feel like she is singing directly to them. Crazy He Calls Me is just one of those songs. Sasso is smooth and seductive, with an alluring edge. Her top notch combo follows suit and accompanies in a brisk and breezy swing. You Go to My Head follows and is equally dark and intoxicating. The slow and somewhat brooding feel finds the band comping subtly as Bill Easley blows superb tenor sax. Freddie Hubbard’s Little Sunflower is a natural showcase for Sasso’s rich and mellifluous range. The band ebbs and flows between Easley’s smooth flute work and the tune’s entrancing rhythms. King/Goffin’s Up on the Roof is a unique selection that Sasso arranges as a waltz. This track really swings, and the song’s theme of escape and solitude truly come alive within the care of the leader. Sondheim/Bernstein’s classic Jet Song from West Side Story is not something you usually associate with a solo vocal performer. But, when it comes to Sasso, you’re not talking about your average singer. Her arrangement here is dynamite, with enough drama and attitude to cover an entire Broadway chorus line. The band cooks, with explosive drum breaks by Tim Horner. Sasso is also a smart and thoughtful songwriter, with the first of two original compositions dedicated to her family called They Left Me. It is a sweet and engaging tribute to her mother, grandmother and aunts that will melt your heart. Michael Franks’ Sanpaku is another rare track that features a cool Brazilian vibe and a great piano solo from Carlton Holmes. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City has been covered to death by many. But bet you never heard it like this! Sasso and company deconstruct it down to bare bones. They reinvent it as a mid-tempo blues, with stellar features by Easley on tenor sax and Holmes exorcising the soul of Ray Charles. The singer concludes the album with advice from her father called Natural Self. This song has a positive message set to a grooving Lou Rawls kind of beat. Within the context of the song Sasso offers little nuanced homilies that seem to echo Ken Nordine’s WordJazz approach.

Sasso has an innate ability to mix and match musical genres and eras at will—making them her own. And her partnership with likeminded players like Holmes, Easley, Mazzaroppi and Horner is a winning combination.

Eric Harabadian

Jersey Jazz Magazine

Jersey Jazz Magazine
April 2013 - CD REVIEW [Hands On]

Vocalist Sandy Sasso is a lady from New Jersey who has garnered a widespread reputation as a first rate vocalist. Her latest release is titled Hands On (Charlie Boy Records-004). She performs 12 selections in the company of Carlton Holmes on piano, Bill Easley on saxophone and flute, Gary Mazzaroppi on bass and Tim Horner on drums. The songs include standards, show tunes, jazz pieces and pop songs, plus two nicely crafted originals by Sasso, They Left Me and Natural Self.  Sasso is a confident singer who is comfortable with the eclectic program that she has chosen. You might just want to follow the advice of the title, and put your hands on a copy of this disc.

Joe Lang

Jersey Jazz Magazine

Hot House Magazine
April 2013 - CD REVIEW [Hands On]

Burnishing a rich and darkly hued voice paired with an unerring sense of swing and a remarkable jazz pedigree, Sandy Sasso remains an underrated, yet masterful chanteuse whose unrushed phrasing allows her to shine particularly in mid-tempo numbers. Celebrating the release of her latest album, Hands On, Sasso finds herself working with repertoire—jazz standards (My Ship) as well as classic pop fare (Summer in the City)—that plays to her strengths and highlights her sultry voice and relaxed groove. These talents will be on full display at the Jazz Café at South Brunswick's Herb Eckert Auditoium on April 5th.

Seton Hawkins

Sept 2010

Journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society
September 2010 - CD REVIEW [Sandyland]

SANDY SASSO has been one of the best vocalists on the New Jersey scene for many years. She has a new album out titled Sandyland (Charlie Boy Records – 003), and it is sure to win an even wider audience for her. The choice of material is interesting and eclectic. It is not often that you hear Gilbert & Sullivan on a jazz vocal album, but when you hear Sasso sing “Things Are Seldom What They Seem,” it makes perfect sense. Her version of “Artificial Flowers” brings a new life to this song from the Broadway show Tenderloin. One of her two original songs on the disc, “Walkin’ on Up (to Heaven’s Door),” is a heartfelt spiritual tribute to the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Sasso’s strong performances are abetted by a fine support group including Rio Clemente, who also provided input on several of the arrangements, on piano and B3 organ, Bill Easley on reeds, Mac Gohellon on trumpet, Steve Nelson on vibes, Calvin Jones on bass, Chembo Corniel on percussion, and Steve Johns on drums. Sasso and company have produced a well programmed and consistently entertaining visit to Sandyland.

...Up until now, I had been knocked out this year by three women, all relatively unknown, and on small, independent labels, who had delivered exceptional work: Sandy Sasso, Sue Tucker, and the recently Grammy-nominated Roberta Gambarini.

- Curtis Davenport

Volume 6, Number 2

Sandy Sasso
All My Men - Charlie Boy Records

All My Men, the title of Sandy Sasso's latest release, is sure to convince you to join the illustrious group of which it speaks. That's because once you hear it, and Sasso's unique vocal style - not to mention her excellent band - you'll fall in love and consider yourself to be one of Sasso's men. The program is a collection of interesting songs, with amusing and often humorous lyrics. This light sense of humor carries over into the music and the bouncy swing that permeates the album.

"Everything I've Got Belongs to You," the disc opener, begins with Joe Ascione's light brushes sweeping out time on the snare. Sasso sings a verse accompanied by only the drums, the first of many clues scattered throughout the album that point toward Sasso's being a rhythmically motivated singer. The band enters in a medium swing tempo and Harry Allen answers Sasso's vocal on tenor saxophone. The first of two originals by the singer, "All My Men" follows. The tune is a medium up blues and features interesting solos from all band members. The tempo and mood relax for the slow, oozing swing of "Black Coffee." Sasso does "smooth and sultry" superbly. The bossa nova "Antonio's Song" - complete with Brazilian flavored acoustic guitar by Bob DeVos, provides a nice contrast to the serious swing of the first three tunes and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," which follows, set in a medium swing tempo.

Horace Silver's classic, "Song for My Father," continues the CD. The lyric to this often instrumentally played song was also written by Silver. Sasso delivers her vocals with style and the band plays the bossa to perfection. The lyrics to Oscar Brown Jr. and Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" are more commonly heard. Perhaps this is why Sasso decided to write an additional set of lyrics, which compliment the original ones nicely and match their whimsical and innocent tone. The band returns to the bossa nova for a rendition of Cole Porter's standard, "Love for Sale." DeVos and pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs are particularly copasetic and entertaining on this track. Sasso also adds some additional lyrics to the bluesy swing tune"Saturday Fish Fry," with lyrics about New Orleans food - always a popular subject among jazz lyricists. The album closes with the unusual choice of Neil Young's "Tin Man," performed as a ballad, and Sasso's second original, "Just Whistlin' Along," a medium swing tune with a free and easy feel.

Sandy Sasso has a sweet, smooth voice. Sure, that sounds silly (Sorry, I just can't help myself with the alliteration)... but cliché though it may be, in this instance, it's the truth. Her phrasing is unique and tasteful. Her songs are interesting and not overly complicated. Her band plays with a swing sensibility, tempered by a touch of the blues. All My Men is definitely a CD worth getting and Sasso is a singer worth watching.

- Dave Miele

All My Men
Sandy Sasso | Charlie Boy Records

Sandy Sasso’s voice is as rich as the brown eyes smiling on the cover of All My Men. The title and photo suggest a mere flirtation, but the artist delivers serious music with her smiles. In her liner notes she dedicates the album and her original composition, the title cut, to the musicians with whom she works—a venerable bunch, with the likes of Grady Tate on guest vocals and
... < read more >

- Suzanne Lorge

December 2005

SANDY SASSO  All My Men (Charlie Boy)

Though seasoned standard-bearer Sandy Sasso bears a noticeable physical resemblance to Home Improvement matriarch Patricia Richardson, there's nothing motherly about the vocalist's bluesy, salt-rimmed gusto. Having traveled with several of the most blistering big bands in the business (Dorsey, Goodman and Riddle outfits, to name but three) the classically trained Sasso has what it takes to hold her own against a wall of sound.

Paying homage to the spectrum of talented guys who've helped shape her "musical journey" (and ably expressing her feelings with the cheeky, self-penned title track), Sasso kicks vocal ass. Juggling a tricky playlist that bounces from the captious sophistication of Rodgers and Hart's "Ev'rything I've Got" and bossa-fueled bite of Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" to the easy-flowing hopefulness of Michael Franks' "Antonio's Song" and the dusky wisdom of Neil Young's "Tin Man," she makes producer Jack Kreisberg, pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, bassist Harry Allen, drummer Joe Ascione, vocal pal Grady Tate (with whom she shapes a stunning "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea") and, indeed, all her men justly proud.

- Christopher Loudon


Sandy Sasso - All My Men

Après avoir chant
é avec le Tommy Dorsey Big Band, celui de Benny Goodman et de Nelson Riddle, Sandy Sasso poursuit sa carrière en adoptant ici un répertoire qui couvre une étendue stylistique d'une ampleur continentale puisqu'on passe des contrées éloignées habitées par Bobby Timmons à celles où déambule Michael Franks, en passant par l'univers de Louis Jordan et celui de Neil Young, sans oublier Horace Silver, les standards et les deux compositions de la vocaliste. Sandy Sasso possède une voix chaleureuse dont les inévitables maniérismes sont compensés par une élégance réelle.

Le duo avec Grady Tate est charmant mais la voix du chanteur-batteur (uniquement vocaliste ici) est emplie d'un blues dont elle est dépourvue. Peu importe, elle a d'autres armes pour interpréter «Black Coffee». Mais elle est carr
ément dans un autre genre que le jazz sur «Tin Man». Elle a cependant l'avantage d'un groupe superbe, les interventions racées de Harry Allen et d'un très sage Onaje Allan Gumbs sont d'un professionnalisme qui embellit et donne du relief aux morceaux les plus usés («Song for My Father», «Love for Sale»). Car si Sasso ressasse sans cesse ces scies, c'est assurément sans sirupeux, sans sucre et sans céder sur son style perso qui reste concis et assez sympa. Vous aurez compris que ce bon disque, sans être d'une intensité fulgurante, illustre le haut niveau musical de l'univers du jazz outre-atlantique.

- Jean Szlamowicz