Jeff Goldblum on his unlikely debut jazz album 'The Capitol Studios Sessions' and its serendipitous beginnings
Apart from being an established actor in blockbuster films, Jeff Goldblum has been playing live jazz gigs since the 90s, ultimately culminating in his debut jazz record
Ever since Jeff Goldblum bared his sexy hairy chest in 'Jurassic Park' two decades ago, the enigma around one of the most eccentric performers of Hollywood has been steadily swelling. Over the last three decades, Goldblum has starred in some of the biggest blockbusters of the industry, with each role getting slightly weirder, merging the eccentricities of his on-screen persona with his real-life charm.
The culmination of all this wonderful weirdness is perhaps best seen in his brief role as the blue-goateed 'Grandmaster' in Taika Waititi's critically acclaimed Marvel sequel 'Thor: Ragnarok'. But here's a curious fact about the beloved actor not too many people know. While he is mostly an internet meme by day, Goldblum is an accomplished jazz pianist by night. In fact, he released his debut jazz album, titled 'The Capitol Studios Sessions' earlier this month on November 9 via Universal’s classic label Decca.
Make no mistake, this is not an off-handed, half-a**ed effort just to market himself better. Goldblum's album, which showcases his interpretations of classic jazz standards -- including Herbie Hancock's 1964 classic "Cantaloupe Island," Nina Simone's 1967 composition "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)" and Nat King Cole's 1943 song "Straighten Up and Fly Right" -- debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz Albums Chart.
Joined by his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, Goldblum pecks away at the piano on his debut effort, while conjuring a playful variety show-style atmosphere. 'The Capitol Studio Sessions' were recorded in Capitol’s A and B studios, which Goldblum transformed into an intimate dinner club, where, before a live audience, he and his band intermixed jazz standards with improvisational comedy.
In a recent detailed interview with NME, Goldblum spoke about how he absolutely did not expect to ever put out an album by himself and the strange twist of fate that led to its existence. "I never thought of making an album, really,” Goldblum said sincerely. “It’s all taken me by surprise.”
Since the mid-nineties, Goldblum has been playing low-key jazz nights in Los Angeles with his band, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Then, in October last year, he happened to be booked on 'The Graham Norton Show' on the same day as Gregory Porter. Goldblum volunteered to accompany Porter on piano. A talent spotter from Decca Records saw it, flew to LA to see Goldblum play his regular Wednesday night gig at the Rockwell in Los Feliz, and all of a sudden, Goldblum found himself with a record deal.
Who would have thought that Jeff Goldblum of all people would have landed a deal for a jazz album with one of the most respected labels in the music world out of serendipity? Not him, that's for sure!
Elsewhere in the interview, Goldblum discussed losing his virginity during his first stage performance, dabbling with marijuana from time to time, and how he "gets a kick" out of seeing the shirtless, 25-foot statue of himself as Dr. Ian Malcolm that recently appeared near Tower Bridge, London. You can read the full interview here.
Meanwhile, Apple Music users can stream Goldblum's full album below.