Jeff Goldblum is known by many from his appearances on the silver screen in some of the most iconic science-fiction and Hollywood films, from The Fly to Jurassic Park… and from his Currys PC World Christmas ad campaign a couple of years back. He is also an accomplished pianist who has had a live jazz show at a Los Angeles club for years. His first album The Capitol Studios Sessions, with The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, showcases some suitably big-name guests.
Pitched as a quirky and improvised jazz and cabaret set, the album begins with a smoky and slick cover of jazz staple Canteloupe Island. This weaves into a simply sublime, cinematic and wistful version of Don’t Mess With Mister T and Till Brönner truly sizzles on trumpet. It’s clear this is no sell-out album for an actor who fancies doing a Later… with Jools Holland on a whim for kicks and cash. This is a passionate musician with an accomplished orchestra under the watchful gaze and talented hands of producer Larry Klein.
One of the album’s stand-outs is a gorgeous version of My Baby Just Cares For Me finding Haley Reinhart at her most sultry and ethereal with some touching and endearing ad libs by both her and Goldblum. Reinhart rejoins him for an incandescent rendition of Gee Baby (Ain’t I Good To You).
Imelda May is deadpan sultry on Straighten Up And Fly Right and achingly tender on This Bitter Earth. She is on her finest form, and crackles on the stripped down Come On A My House with a delectable Peggy Lee Fever backdrop eclipsing other rushed and hasty versions.
Not only is the music beautiful and the songs captivating, there is a hilarious introduction for Sarah Silverman. Her duet with Goldblum on Me And My Shadow has some marvellous harmonies. Silverman seems to channel Madonna as Breathless Mahoney at her most cutesy, but the added contemporary references to climate change and bawdy ad libs detract slightly from the performance, although the whooping crowd laps them up.
At the heart of this album is an unrelenting charm and charisma, perhaps highlighting that the ever-bewitching Goldblum’s heart is well and truly in this. The absolute highlight is the magnificent and affecting It Never Entered My Mind, Goldblum’s ivory keys married perfectly to the stirring trumpet of Till Brönner. Jazz standard Caravan is updated with a relentless and sweeping feel. There is also perhaps a clever nod to Goldblum’s now duality as film star and jazz impresario on an emphatic version I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free), otherwise known as the Barry Norman music on Film whatever year it is. Good Nights closes out proceedings wonderfully with Goldblum paying tribute to all of the amazing musicians present.
This is a magnificent and engaging record from one of our most beloved actors that both jazz aficiandos and neophytes should come to adore. One thing though, Jeff Goldblum: Don’t give up your day job. We love you as an actor too.