On a scale of one to Jeff Goldblum, how high are your energy levels right now? Before you answer, consider the facts of today: it’s a Friday, you just got paid, it’s also November, there are two months left in the decade and a brand-new jazz album is set to soundtrack your next soirée. Did we mention it’s by Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra? Did we also mention that it includes collaborations with artists such as Gregory Porter and Miley Cyrus? And a swooning lullaby from the man of the hour himself? So! Much! Joy!
Jazz has been moving at the speed of light this year. That’s largely down to the release of previously unheard material from its masters: namely John Coltrane’s lost soundtrack Blue World and Miles Davis’ shelved session Rubberband. It’s taken over cinema too: just a few weeks ago, Stanley Nelson premiered his Miles Davis documentary, Birth Of The Cool, during London’s Film Festival. Fans of the genre’s front-running artists have been blessed to say the least, but all of these brilliant recordings do stem from at least 30 years ago.
Enter Jeff Goldblum, his latest release is titled I Shouldn’t Be Telling You Thisand it follows on from his debut album, which dropped this time last year. Comprising eleven songs, it features some brilliant renditions of old-school favourites such as Chet Baker, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra and Jimmy Durante. But who’s taking on those vocals? Only some of the most sensational (and surprising) singers currently driving the music industry forward. Sharon Van Etten kicks off the album with a sultry cover of Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face The Music And Dance”, Inara George covers Sonny and Cher favourite “The Beat Goes On” and Grammy-winning artist Gregory Porter joins Goldblum’s crew for a feature on “Make Someone Happy”.
Speaking of Gregory Porter, he once told GQ that “what makes jazz different is that you can’t predict it. Just when you think you know what you’re going to hear, a jazz musician will change it up.” Looks like Goldblum is a real jazz fellow then, because his choice to join forces with Miley Cyrus on one of the tracks has us shook. Cyrus’ previous repertoire has hit the pop, country and hip-hop styles with astounding success, but to see out the year she’s offering a lush arrangement of BB King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”. It’s an unexpected delight to hear her interpretation of the blues staple.
As for the man himself? His moment with the microphone is the final track on the album: an acoustic offering of Bill Crosby’s “Little Man, You’ve Had A Busy Day”. It’s a tailor-made track for Goldblum, not just because he likes to sing it to his two young sons, but also because it sums up his 2019. This year alone, he smashed a stellar set at Glastonbury as well as his show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
One final word from the star: “I’m crying with ecstasy over this new album. Creatively, I’m happy as a clam. This collection of cohorts (cream of the crop), with whom I get to cavort, is outta this cosmos. Ouch, my crackling cranium! I’m crowing! Given that he’s sat at a white baby grand piano on a floating stage in Frank Sinatra’s pool for the cover, we don’t blame him – 2020 music (and mood) sorted.