BWW Interview: Jeff Goldblum Talks About Bringing Jazzy Cool to Birmingham at The Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center
Whenever you go to a bakery. Without fail, there is always a curious muffin in the display case. Curious in appearance, texture and taste. Jeff Goldblum is such a curious muffin. He is an abundantly creative and charismatic artist. His signature mojo shines bright as provocateur of promiscuously potent personality. The man is the walking embodiment of crazy, sexy, cool. Goldblum's passion fuels decades of iconic Oscar and Emmy Award nominated performances. If you are like me, you will read these lines and instantly hear his delivery.
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
"On any other world I would be millions of years old but here on Sakaar..."
"I'm becoming, Brundlefly. Don't you think that's worth a Nobel Prize or two?"
"Must go faster."
"Excuse me, Sheriff, I'm a gambler who'd like to run an honest game in your town."
"That's the great thing about the outdoors, it's one giant toilet."
See. His classic performances stick with you forever.
To list all of his credits would be akin to reading an entire phone book. Blockbuster films like Jurassic Park, Independence Day , The Big Chill and Thor: Ragnarok are just a few highlights of a careers spanning film, television, Broadway, and jazz. Yes jazz. Goldblum is behind the piano at the helm of the jazz ensemble, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. For years, Goldblum has been bringing a full sound, big-band-era jazz standards to clubs in New York and Los Angeles. Their debut album The Capitol Studios Sessions released last year. Goldblum is the front man, providing smooth and charm with playful vamp. The "hep-cat" works the crowd with Q and A, playing trivia, and laying down classic jazz standards and improv. This Sunday June 2nd, Goldblum's ensemble will be performing an intimate and energetic jazz performance at the 2019 Viva Health Starlight Gala for the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. The gala benefits the center's programming and community outreach and education.
Jeff Goldblum has been lending his uniquely wry charm and unpredictable presence to an amazing body of work. He knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue acting. At age 17, he made his way to New York City, eventually studying with legendary Sanford Meisner. His journey still continues with vibrancy. Before he arrives in Birmingham I reached out to him and gained some wonderful insight into this wonderful man about town.
David Perry - You are a cultivator in many artistic fields. With decades in sowing seeds of creativity, cross-pollination is a curious inevitability. Are there any similarities between delivering wonderfully nuanced characters and giving life to a killer, passionate jazz set?
Jeff Goldblum - "I'm a humble student aspiring to the achievement of both. But perhaps there are overlapping elements. Inventiveness, openness, acceptance, enjoyment, enthusiasm, honest attention and effort, the mysteries of talent, and understanding, compassion, empathy through examined living."
DP - Great music is a train always is on time. It whisks everyone to a candy land of personal reflection. After you bite into it. What is at the center of the tootsie pop of jazz music for you?
JG- "A gin rummy of transcendental mastication and orgasmic ecstasy."
DP - In a recent interview, I saw your spirit light up with flavor euphoria when reminiscing on the chopped ham and BBQ sauce sandwiches from your youth. For many, this simple and decadent pleasure is a daily (if not hourly) staple in Birmingham. Could you be a southerner at heart?
JG - "My simple heart beats in concert with every other creature in the cosmos irrespective of their zip code or state flower. But Tennessee Williams is one of my cherished soul mates."
DP - Clothes make the man. Music can tame the savage beast. Going through your mental Rolodex. What is a phrase or mantra that provides mojo and motivation and why?
JG - "Use what exists." It was passed on to me by the great Sanford Meisner, and continually reveals it's wisdom in unexpected ways. Another is "When you're hot you're hot, when you're not you're not." Also the George Bernard Shaw quote that starts with "This is the true joy in life." You'll understand why when you read it."
After that statement I did read it, and Goldblum is correct. The entire quote by Shaw strikes with imagery and context of a creative heart. Shaw writes, "Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
Goldblum is doing exactly that. His light will shine long after the dinosaurs retake the Earth. Thankfully we get to enjoy his jazzy talents live in Birmingham. Up close and personal for just one night. The dough spent to dig on that curious muffin will be well spent.
Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
2019 Viva Health Starlight Gala at The Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center
1200 10th Ave. South Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Box Office (205) 975-ARTS
For tickets - Here