Hollywood movie star Jeff Goldblum transcends the big screen to bring his effervescent joie de vivre and stuttering style to this spirited album of jazz standards, recorded live in the studio in front of an appreciative audience.
Goldblum plays dual roles, tickling the ivories as bandleader and acting as an excitable and exaggeratedly suave MC, going off on idiosyncratic tangents and introducing his guest vocalists with a winking, flirty charm.
As a jazz pianist Goldblum is no joke, although you'd be hard-pressed to notice. His piano mostly avoids the limelight to allow renowned trumpet player Till Bronner to take the lead and impress.
Goldblum steps out of the shadows for the odd solo, notably on I Wish I Knew (How it Would Feel to be Free), but generally he's content to work the rhythm and augment the edges with tasteful flourish
Contrasting his subdued piano is Goldblum's oversized personality, which, let's face it, is the reason we're all listening. The enthusiasm is infectious as he indulges in playfully suggestive banter with his guest vocalists, American Idol winner Haley Reinhart, jazz singer Imelda May and comedian Sarah Silverman. A duet with the latter is a breezy highlight as they ham their way through a flirtatious rendition of Me and My Shadow.
It's a fairly unchallenging setlist, opening with a competent run through Cantaloupe Island before hitting standards like My Baby Just Cares for Me, Come On-A-My House and Straighten Up and Fly Right along the way.
Goldblum does work in a few surprises, like a heavily edited run through Stanley Turrentine's 1973 street tough opus Don't Mess with Mister T, and the 1940s Rodgers and Hart show tune It Never Entered My Mind, which sees Bronner's trumpet coming close to matching the nuance Miles Davis captured with his Quintet in 1956.
But Goldblum and co. haven't made this for purists. This is unashamedly dinner party jazz. A rollicking feel-good trip through the classics, filled with easy vibes, exuberant performance and an undeniably joyous vibe.
Jeff Goldblum & the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
The Capitol Studio Sessions
A suitably sophisticated soundtrack for the early hours of your next soiree.