Those of us who listen to jazz divide ourselves into two: those who affirm that jazz is dead and those who believe otherwise. That’s right, because the health of jazz is something that only interests us who listen to the genre. Everyone else does not care what records are released or what innovations can be heard.
Yes, maybe he is a little sick, but nothing serious. A few West Coast jazz pickups have taken his fever off his feet and got him back on his feet. With the emergence of Kamasi Washington and all his musician friends we were able to find a fundamental revitalization for the genre. Not only he is involved in this revitalization. There are also, for example, the Canadians BadBadNotGood or the New Orleans trombonist Trombone Shorty. All of them have found a place in contemporary jazz without forgetting tradition, understanding that this is only part of music, the essential thing is to live today. In this way, making a constant fusion they have taken the genre to other ears and generations.
Months after rejoicing in those moments, I found myself going through the charts that don’t include reggaeton or the like and came across an album that rose so quickly that we had to turn to look at it.
It turns out that Jeff Goldblum is not only an actor, but also a musician. And he is not a mediocre musician either, like many actors who decide to step on stages with an instrument in their hands (for example, Scarlett Johansson). Not at all, Jeff has technique and certain skills. He is neither the great discovery of the century nor a true virtuoso. Only that he knows how to defend himself against standards best known of the genre.
In November an album recorded by him appeared. No one who has seen it in the movies of Jurassic Park I would have suspected that he would be successful playing jazzman. But the actor has played the piano since he was a child and spends his breaks between film projects playing in different bars in New York and Los Angeles.
The disc, Jeff Goldblum &The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. The Capitol Studios sessions, quickly climbed the lists of popularity. So much so that it was number one in the jazz categories with more than 3,000 units, a ridiculous figure but enough to place it at the top of the genre’s sales.
It seems that everyone loves Jeff, but the question that immediately arises is: is he worth as much as he is promoted? Will it transform anything in the world of music? The answer is a definit no. The sympathy that the actor produces – which is a lot, really, I find it difficult for someone to find Goldblum unpleasant – is not enough for a jazz album to be acclaimed as one of the greats discoveries of the year. Come on, it can’t even be completely separated from being a funny anecdote.
That Goldblum rescue the funny, light crooner, who makes the evening pleasant, so much so that happiness floods the audience, is not enough to recognize in the actor something more than a skill well practiced for years on stage.
Make no mistake, of course the show and this music are necessary. It is not possible to demand aesthetic depth from everything we consume. I even think that it is not desirable. The balance between what aesthetically disrupts the human being and what allows him to overcome daily adversity must exist for our own good.
But, and here my skepticism, on the one hand, the media attention to the album comes, of course, from the actor’s fame and much less from the quality of the music. Goldblum even invites actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, who sings, almost recites, “Me and my shadow”, In a strange attempt at comedy sung just like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davids Jr. accomplished, but with two actors who vocally leave a lot to be desired. Yes, they are nice, but it is not enough. This song becomes a good example of the quality of the album. A group of efficient and professional supporting musicians, supporting an excellent actor, good pianist, mediocre singer. All this dressing accompanies effective standards, songs with which it is impossible to go wrong but which do not break any scheme or explore musical solutions in the face of the enormous jazz tradition.
On the other hand, taking the top spot in sales leaves me in a tight spot every time I try to show that the genre is in good health. The album only proposes intimate fun between the musicians and the public, but nothing more. Their performances are as dutiful, no doubt, like any local jazz group that plays at the corner bar. His aspirations are modest, but he has been sold as something he is not, something more than a series of sympathetic comments from Goldblum while singing with Imelda May or Haley Reinhart.
I do not want to seem bitter here, only that these types of records, after giving me a moment of fun, give me a certain disenchantment. This type of work is what gives, apparently, solid arguments to those who proclaim the death of the genre for decades. And it is that one does not get anything when listening to them more than once. They do not work fully without watching the videos of the actor interacting with others. One is not slightly drunk in front of the musicians to enjoy as it should happen. No, none of this. The listener is at home, being patient with the Spotify ads and imagining the show. I’m not curious beyond the anecdote. I don’t feel an inevitable urge to rush to the record store or order the pleasure item from Amazon.
None of that, just a minimal scam feeling, a ghost hovering over my head, like when you know Jeff Goldblum performs in the last of Jurassic Park, but it only appears for a few minutes.
We would like to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this remarkable content
Jeff Goldblum, or how to kill jazz while having fun | Free Letters