There is no stopping Jeff Goldblum and his inimitable style, especially when it comes to something as close to his heart as playing the piano. Goldblum especially loves to accompany, punctuate, converse musically with friends and fellow music-makers, and so is in his element on this new release for 2023.
Entitled ‘Plays Well With Others’, and released on Decca on 24th March, Goldblum together with his long-time band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, delivers sheer joy with his idiosyncratic take on a collection of standards that, for Jeff, are amongst the best songs ever written. Here, the actor yet again brings his on-screen charisma and eccentricities to the keys, with a groove that is totally unique.
With all tracks newly arranged by The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra themselves, Jeff is, as the EP title suggests, joined by an array of talented, and unexpected, guest singers, all as thrilled to be accompanied by Jeff as he is to accompany them.
Jeff describes the experience of making the EP, “The experience of collaborating with these fantastic singers has made me feel that I have revealed myself to myself, and has left me utterly drenched and purged.”
The winter gloom of January 2023 will be much improved with the release of Goldblum’s first single from the EP, ‘Moon River’, featuring vocalist Mattiel Brown of the indie-rock duo, Mattiel. This unusual collaboration in fact comes as no surprise, with the small clue of Brown’s own band’s song, ‘Jeff Goldblum’, in which she sings about meeting a Goldblum look-alike in the bathroom. The band, Mattiel, has also been known to have Jeff’s face projected onto the stage at gigs. There was no question this meeting of musical minds had to take place, and Mattiel flew out to LA to record vocals while Jeff and band were working on the record. Listen to ‘Moon River’ here.
Mattiel Brown says, “I’m thrilled to be working with a like-minded artist of Jeff Goldblum’s incomparable calibre. I couldn’t have imagined this outcome from penning some lyrics about an old boyfriend, but the stars seem to have aligned themselves.”
This offering sets the bar high, but the rest of the EP does not disappoint, as our star accompanist is also joined by multi-million-selling and award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson for Cole Porter’s 1930s classic, ‘Don’t Fence Me In’. And what better choice for the opening words, “Wildcat Kelly..”, beautifully delivered by Clarkson. This should also come as no surprise as Jeff actually put the idea to Kelly on camera, as a guest on her TV show, and even suggested the track. She said yes there and then! And they remained true to their word.
Next up is Brazilian singer-songwriter Rodrigo Amarante who, having been admired by Jeff and the band from afar, joins them for the laid back 1962 song ‘I Wanna Be Around’. Then the remarkable voice of Freda Payne – who has performed with Jeff and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra in the past – features on the alluring ‘Lazy Afternoon’. This arrangement is perfect for their friend and brings the record to a suitably relaxed close, with all the haziness we hear about in the song.
In between numbers from the starring vocalists, Jeff and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra look after things with a couple of instrumental tracks. To open the record, Jeff greets us with an effortless and inviting piano intro to the swinging sax-led tune, ‘A Baptist Beat’ (by Hank Mobley). The listener is later treated to a lilting bossa nova version of the 1950s song ‘In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning’, serving as a half-way point in the EP, and showcasing yet more dazzling solo moments from this brilliant band, with Goldblum bringing everyone together, in the way only he can.