Jeff Goldblum’s debut album, a live-in-the-studio ersatz nightclub affair, is a sincere, classy, and competent homage to the golden age of vocal jazz.
Jeff Goldblum has located fame’s sweet spot. The man veers happily between being a star in lucrative Hollywood franchises and a sort of sentient, benevolent meme. Every sensible person should aspire to this precise degree of celebrity: Goldblum is rich enough not to have to worry about money again, yet he can still wander into a Trader Joe’s without a security detail. He is curiously beloved, but not so beloved that he’s at risk of sustaining paparazzi-induced injury. When Goldblum, with his bespectacled good looks, is summoned to BuzzFeed’s video studio to recite tweets from strangers calling him “daddy,” he seems to genuinely enjoy it. That is the dream, isn’t it?
Goldblum also enjoys an offscreen hobby as an accomplished jazz pianist. He has honed this skill since his childhood, long before films like The Big Chill and The Fly made him a regular in America’s VCRs. The Goldblum Fame Quotient seems ideal for indulging a musical side hustle: He can easily land a deal with Decca Records, yet he won’t be suffocated by public scrutiny. For years, the actor and his ensemble, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, have been bringing big-band-era jazz standards to clubs in New York and Los Angeles. The Capitol Studios Sessions is billed as his debut album, but it feels more like a variety-show special, with Goldblum feeding off the energy of a studio audience and exchanging flirty banter with guest vocalists like Haley Reinhart. In truth, it’s both: The album was recorded at Hollywood’s Capitol Studios, which Goldblum converted into an ad hoc jazz club, with a boozed-up crowd of fans who do not address him as “daddy.” So we get the freewheeling spirit of a live album and the pristine mix of a proper studio LP.