People: Jeff Goldblum, the Hollywood jazz pianist

People: Jeff Goldblum, the Hollywood jazz pianist

Jeff Goldblum, the Hollywood jazz pianist

Jeff Goldblum at the 2019 BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, USA.  Photo: Daniel Deslover/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Jeff Goldblum at the 2019 BottleRock Music Festival in Napa, USA. photo

© Daniel Deslover/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum is not only a gifted actor, but also a passionate musician. He appears as a jazz pianist – and quite successfully.

who at Jeff Goldblum thinks, the first thing you might see is a man transforming into a giant, disgusting fly. Or a math nerd fighting dinosaurs. The Hollywood star, who celebrated his 70th birthday in October, is best known for his roles in blockbusters: “The Fly”, “Jurassic Park” or “Independence Day”. In addition to acting – and fewer people know this – Goldblum also plays the piano passionately and is active as a jazz musician.

With his combo The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, he has already released two albums in which the exceptional German trumpeter Till Brönner and US superstar Miley Cyrus played a part. The first album of 2018 hit number one in the US and UK jazz-Charts. The musicians have also been celebrated at the renowned Glastonbury Festival in England.

At the beginning of April he will be a guest in Berlin

A new EP (“Plays Well With Others”) was released at the end of March, on which the band reinterprets classics such as Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” or Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” (with Kelly Clarkson). On this occasion, Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra also concerts in Europe. A performance in Berlin is planned for Monday (April 3).

“I guess I’m a pro now because they give us some money for it and I play with professional musicians,” Goldblum joked in an interview with the German press agency. Goldblum is in a great mood and seems extremely down-to-earth. He tunes into songs several times – including Schumann’s “Dichterliebe”.

When asked about his music career, he says that none of this was planned. Acting was always his first choice of career. Even as a child, he wrote in the morning on the steam-fogged glass of the shower: “Please, God, let me be an actor.”

The music was always by his side

Music has always played a big role in his life. In Pittsburgh, where he grew up, he learned to play the piano at an early age. However, he was a rather bad student, “little disciplined”. But then his teacher gave him notes for jazzy pieces. “Alley Cat” or “Stairway To The Stars”. “These were new sounds for me. Not the classic little exercises I did before. And I loved it.” From then on he practiced until the pieces sounded good to him.

At the age of 15 he felt like playing in front of an audience. He called cocktail bars all over Pittsburgh, got a few jobs his parents drove him to. But his dream of acting finally drew him to New York at the age of 17, where he soon appeared on Broadway. But the music always stayed by his side, he says. If more as a kind of private pleasure.

In the 1990s he started performing regularly with other musicians in Los Angeles. Eventually they gave themselves the name The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, named after a family friend from their youth. He and others describe the concerts as spontaneous jam sessions with lots of improvisation and humor. Goldblum says he loves talking to the audience, asking questions and playing with them. It is a “spiritual, very lively experience”.

Incidentally, he repeatedly tried to use his piano skills in his films. Many a director got involved with it. For example, Goldblum can be seen sitting at the piano as a manic scientist in David Cronenberg’s thriller “The Fly” (1986), and as an extraterrestrial in Julien Temple’s “My Lover From Another Star” (1989).

A piano in the planetary throne room

Even for the role of the tyrant who rules over a garbage planet in “Thor: Day of Decision” (2017) director Taika Waititi included a corresponding scene. When he told him he could play the piano in the film, Waititi said, “Oh yeah, in that planetary throne room that you have, you might have some kind of band and a little keyboard,” Goldblum says.

Sounds absurd. But the actor is known for his eccentricities – not only in his roles. Magazines have repeatedly voted him one of the best-dressed men in America for his idiosyncratic fashion style, with the courage to use bright colors and bold patterns. What others his age would look ridiculous in (keyword zebra stripes), the 1.94 meter tall, lanky Goldblum looks casual and cool.

Jazz fits this image. When asked to what extent music shaped his character, Goldblum replies that he never wanted to be “consciously cool”. Jazz, with its different rhythms and harmonies, attracted him and somehow became a part of him. “Whatever I am today,” he says, “has a lot to do with what I love musically.”


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