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Music Review

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The Capitol Studios Sessions


Artist: Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Label: Decca Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 09 November 2018

Halfway through his seventh decade of living amongst the Earthlings, Jeff Goldblum is having another of his periodic "moments", sending seemingly the whole world into a frenzy of swooning. So it's no surprise that this current wave is crested by the release of his debut album, a laconic melodic jazz offering filmed live with the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra complete with smattering applause and light banter.

The aim is clearly to give the listener a glimpse of what it must be like to accidentally stumble upon Goldblum and co playing without fanfare in an LA lounge bar, something the actor does on a regular basis. The album doesn't begin with any preamble, deprecating or otherwise ("Hi I'm Jeff etc") but straight into a pleasant version of 'Canteloupe Island'. A good chunk of the album is fully instrumental and exceptionally easy on the ear. This is easy jazz, no sweat or fire or convoluted solos but it's a band who work well together doing what they do best.

Although not taking centre stage, Goldblum is savvy enough to know that he's the draw here, and with his instantly recognisable voice it doesn't take much in the way of on stage banter to remind the listener that it's the icon behind the wheel. But, unlike the live shows, where he made a point of giving the audience a good dose of the full Goldblum (including a venue wide sing-a-long to the Jurassic Park theme), it mostly feels natural and unobtrusive.

Of the female guest vocalists Hayley Reinhart is the clear standout. She and Jeff have good chemistry and she easily ranges across several numbers being earthy, powerful or coquettish by turns. Her 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' is particularly strong and at delicious piano flourish at the "Liberace" you can picture Goldblum mugging to the audience. For me this is easily the best track.

Imeda May phones in a performance so boring I forgot I was even listening to a three minute song. Thrice. 'Straighten UP and Fly Right', the audible equivalent of MDF.
Sarah Silverman and Goldblum clearly have a good relationship and this is the pairing which receives the most "airtime" for their banter. It isn't quite as funny as they think it is. I'm sure if you were in the room it would feel much more natural and warm but on record there's a disconnect which makes you feel like the third wheel watching two BFFs trading in-jokes.

In summary, this is an uncontroversially pleasant album which beleaguered retail staff can confidently whack on over the festive period and not be driven insane. But, it's neither a great jazz album or a full on Goldblum fan-pleasing offering. I know that sounds a bit like damning with faint praise but it isn't. We all know that it's totally cool, daddy-o, for jazz to be... nice.


Lizzie Biscuits

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