Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra just debuted their first record, “The Capitol Studio Sessions,” introducing Goldblum fans everywhere to his jazzy pursuits outside of acting. The charismatic man, who you probably know from blockbuster hits like “Independence Day” and “Jurassic Park,” actually started off as a trained jazz pianist years before he was a leading man on the silver screen, and has been playing shows in Los Angeles since the ’90s. Here on the 14-track album, “Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra” — the name an homage to Goldblum’s close family friend — lets his musical roots shine.
Even if you never knew Goldblum was part of the jazz scene, it nearly comes as no surprise. Considering Goldblum’s signature velvety charm, thick-rimmed glasses, stylish clothing and idiosyncratic personality, it feels almost as if he is jazz in human form. Like the bouncing rhythm of a classic jazz standard, Goldblum swings and dazzles, which is why audiences everywhere adore him. He is the perfect man for jazz.
Groovy horns and the upbeat tap of a cymbal get the album going on the first track, “Cantaloupe Island.” The all instrumental song is a lively and dance-worthy number, setting the mood for the rest of the album. As a listener, you can sense the feel-good atmosphere surrounding Jeff and his bandmates, who recorded the whole album live at Capital Studios in LA. Each instrument, like the blaring horns and dynamic piano interludes, are clear and powerful. In signature Goldblum fashion, he ends the piece with one of his trademark phrases, “Oh, you’re so sweet,” bringing a sense of approachability into the space and the often-serious genre of jazz.
“Don’t Mess With Mister T” is a slightly slower piece and features the expertise of jazz musician and trumpeter Till Brönner. Brönner flies through the notes, going up and down scales and trilling notes effortlessly. In “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” Goldblum recruits the sultry stylings of Haley Reinhart, who was a contestant on “American Idol” and has since garnered an even wider following by doing old-school covers of songs on the popular YouTube channel “Postmodern Jukebox.”
Reinhart has the perfect sound for jazz, easily going from an airy tone to a full, raspy belt only moments later. Additionally, the chemistry between her and Goldblum is electrifying, with the two of them engaging in a flirtatious banter throughout the piece. Their playful back-and-forth and cutesy name calling was common in old jazz duets, and the two manage to bring back the warmth and joyfulness of that time.
Irish rockabilly and singer-songwriter Imelda May is another recurring female vocalist on the album, showcasing her impeccable scat and improvisational skills on “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” and slowing her voice down to a sultry, mysterious hum in the songs “This Bitter Earth” and “Come On-A-My House.”
Perhaps the most surprising feature on the record is comedian Sarah Silverman. Silverman, who is known everywhere for her satirical, deadpan humor and decent acting chops, duets with Goldblum on the cutesy song “Me and My Shadow.” Silverman’s high, nasally voice plays well with Goldblum’s bouncy vocals, the personality of the comic duo coming out on sweet lyrics like “We stick together like glue.”
Goldblum, always one to stay on brand, has a conversation with Silverman toward the end of the song, telling her a story about leaving his butter out overnight so that it softens. Silverman cracks her usual jokes, and the two are a brilliant flirtatious pair. As a nice touch, the song closes after a very brief interlude of the “Jurassic Park” theme song, paying tribute to some of Goldblum’s finest work.
“It Never Entered My Mind” once again features the legendary Till Brönner for a slower and more understated moment on the album. The song opens with a beautiful piano solo, leading into horn solos, which are the focus of the track. The percussion is minimal, with only a slight tap and brush of the snare to keep the beat. The downtempo song serves as a nice break after the Silverman duet and “Nostalgia In Times Square,” which is a buoyant and energized toe-tapper.
Haley Reinhart continues to shine in “Gee Baby (Ain’t I Good To You).” Though the song starts with her usual smooth timbre, Reinhart proves herself to be a powerhouse vocalist with some incredible belts and an impressively delicate high note at the end that will make you swoon. After hearing her voice, it makes you wonder how she could’ve possibly placed third and not first on “American Idol.”
“The Capitol Studios Sessions” ends with another high-spirited number that parallels the album’s beginning track. The recurring motif of descending notes combined with an intense finish with blaring horns and banging drums makes “Caravan” the perfect closer to the show. In “Good Nights” Goldblum says goodbye for the evening, thanking everyone in the band and repeating “I love you” over and over again to the audience. As a final thought, Goldblum remarks, “This is the best night I’ve ever had in my whole life,” and I’m sure every lucky guest at his show would agree.