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Music - Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum on his new jazz career: "It's the best time of my life"

Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum on his new jazz career: "It's the best time of my life"

Hollywood actor Jeff Goldblum speaks in an interview with “Switzerland on the weekend” about his new career as a jazz pianist and his life as a young father at 66.

Jeff Goldblum has been an actor in films such as Jurassic Park, Independence Day and The Fly for more than three decades. But Goldblum as a jazz pianist? This is probably new to most of them. Together with his band The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, the 66-year-old American recorded the standard jazz album "The Capitol Studios Sessions". He also proves himself to be an excellent musician.

Mr. Goldblum, why did you record a jazz album?

Jeff Goldblum: Oh boy, I am amazed myself. This story came about through Gregory Porter, this wonderful jazz singer. A year ago we met on a TV show where he presented his Nat King Cole album. The TV people asked me if I would like to accompany Gregory on the piano on the song "Mona Lisa". That gave the label "Decca" the idea of ​​making an album.

The world-famous trumpeter Till Brönner can also be heard on it. How did the collaboration come about?

Till is great. My producer Larry Klein brought it with him. Also the singers Imelda May and Haley Reinhart. I myself asked Sarah Silverman, who works with Till. Otherwise it was my usual band that I made the recordings with.

How long have you been playing together?

For many years. When I'm not filming somewhere in the world, we perform every week at the club called Rockwell in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. The shed is sold out every time and the audience seems happy. Our concerts are quite popular, that can be stated without any false modesty. Now I'm looking forward to getting out and going on tour. We will play a few evenings in Paris and Berlin. And who knows what else is to come.

Is the album a dream of yours?

No, I really can't say that. I had certainly not got it into my head one day to record a live album at Capitol Studios, I would never have been that presumptuous. Instead, since I was a kid, I've always had this crazy, but perfectly clear and self-evident plan in my head to become an actor. But I learned the piano as a child, and when I came into contact with jazz, my passion sparked. I performed early, but when I was 17 I moved to New York, which is where acting started. I appeared in musicals and plays on Broadway and made my first films. Still, there was always a piano where I lived. My acting colleague Peter Weller came to my house more often and we played together. It was Woody Allen, who is also a jazz clarinetist, who encouraged us to perform in public. That's how it started.

How did you experience jazz as a child?

I remember that whenever I heard something jazz, something was going on in my body, a comforting reaction (laughs). When my music teacher finally gave up teaching me classical pieces and instead gave me jazz to study, it really got me going. Suddenly I really felt like taking my piano lessons. That was in the sixties, and when one day my father brought home a record by the great jazz pianist Erroll Garner, it was finally over for me.

Could it have happened that you became a professional musician rather than an actor?

Yes. If I had gotten good engagements as a pianist in New York straight away, it would have been possible. But to my own surprise I got into this film and stage world pretty quickly and didn't have that much time left for the music.

You don't look at 66. The older you get, the younger you look. Is there a secret recipe?

No, I don't know the secret of eternal youth either. What is true though: I feel really great right now. I am a late bloomer. I play music better now than ever before, and I also like myself more and more as an actor. I think it's crucial to keep developing, to work on yourself, to learn new things. As an artist in particular, you're never finished. And so my work seems to get better and better as I get older. It's the best time of my life.

So privately?

Yes, I'm happily married, I've been with Emilie for seven years. I had no children, but now our first son Charlie Ocean was born three years ago and our second son River Joe eighteen months ago. Suddenly being a father was a real awakening experience for me. The children have brought so much light, so much joy into my existence, I can really only hug the world. At the moment everything is just great.

How are you as a father?

My wife sets a few limits for the boys. On the other hand, I tend to have fun with the boys. I love to make the two of them laugh, I think that's my core skill in bringing up children.

Are your kids as crazy about dinosaurs as most little boys? And do you know that your father starred in the famous dinosaur movie Jurassic Park?

The funny thing is, we keep the guys off anything screen related for the time being. So you've never had a cell phone in your hand, not even a tablet, and you've never watched TV. So never even watched a movie.

Your wife Emilie is 30 years younger than you and was a professional gymnast. Does she show you how to move?

Oh yes, yes. Emilie is a world class athlete, still. She was on the Canadian Olympic team in rhythmic gymnastics. And she still does sports all the time and was, for example, Emma Stone's dance double in “La La Land”. But it's not my specialty. I'm a little too big and too clumsy.

You always have a smile on your face. How come

I've always been like that. I quickly get excited about something and carry this oversized portion of joie de vivre with me. I think my fun in life always pushes me into new, exciting projects, it is the engine of my activities. Yeah i'm very happy And I'm incredibly grateful for everything I can do. I have just shot the film "The Mountain", which was shown in competition at the Venice Film Festival. I play a doctor. Next up is a series on National Geographic, which deals with scientific topics. Science is another one of my many passions.

You're not exactly a Trump friend. Are you worried that the darkest chapter in history could repeat itself?

Gosh, yeah, that's a serious question. I despise fanaticism, racism and the thought that anyone is better or worse than anyone else. It is so ugly and so stupid to even think differently and to hurt other people with this thinking. Yes, I do what I can to keep the ball in the field of progress and humanity. I want a peaceful planet populated by loving beings.

Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra:"The Capitol Studios Session," Decca.