You Know Him As An Actor But Jeff Goldblum Is A Musician Too

Goldblum hosts a weekly jazz show in LA with his band, The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. For more than 15 years, he's worked that around his acting schedule. (This piece aired on May 25, 2014 on ATC.)

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Jeff Goldblum has been in movies for decades classics like "the Big Chill" and "Jurassic Park."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC PARK")

JEFF GOLDBLUM: (As Ian Malcolm) See, here, I'm not by myself talking to myself. That's - that's chaos there.

GREENE: But there is a whole other side to Jeff Goldblum that you won't find on screen. Instead, you'll find it at a club in Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing).

GREENE: On the piano there - Jeff Goldblum, playing at his weekly jazz show. And in this encore from Weekend All Things Considered, we spent a night at the club with NPR's Tom Dreisbach.

GOLDBLUM: My name is Jeff Goldblum, and, gee, I'm an actor. And as a hobby, I've always played piano.

TOM DREISBACH, BYLINE: To set the scene here, Jeff Goldblum is wearing a white button-down shirt, this green bow tie, tight blue pants and slightly tinted glasses. We're in a kind of club/dining room with a small stage set up with a piano, a double bass, some drums, a guitar, and Jeff Goldblum is taking me around this sort of preshow routine.

GOLDBLUM: Let's go. Come on.

DREISBACH: Meeting fans like Ryan Thorn and Jessica Hall.

GOLDBLUM: What do you guys do?

RYAN THORN: We're musicians, actually.

GOLDBLUM: Really?

DREISBACH: And these fans that come to the show are often so nervous to meet him, but by the end of their interaction with Jeff Goldblum, they act like they're best friends.

GOLDBLUM: She looks like a young - wait a minute.

DREISBACH: He does this one thing to break the ice with people. He guesses which celebrities they look like.

GOLDBLUM: Who's the lady - statuesque - a beautiful lady who starred with Al Pacino in "Serpico?"

DREISBACH: I think he, actually, always says the young version of whatever celebrity he picks.

GOLDBLUM: So many people come up to me and say, hey, my whole life, people have told me that I look like you. I always say the same thing - oh, my gosh. Well, that's so flattering to me.

DREISBACH: That's a good answer. I think that is the only acceptable answer.

GOLDBLUM: Yes, it is. I believe in courtesy.

DREISBACH: So Jeff learned how to play piano as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh. And sometime back in the 1990s, Jeff got in touch with manager John Mastro to find a small group of professional jazz players.

GOLDBLUM: And so we have a kind of jam session - I guess they call it. And people seem to enjoy it. I like it.

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO)

DREISBACH: On stage, he's constantly mugging to the audience or playing with a straw in his glass of iced coffee. He's constantly going on little riffs like this one with his guitarist John Story.

GOLDBLUM: (Singing) Like wallpaper sticks to the walls - like the seashore clings to the sea - like you'll never get rid of your shadow.

JOHN STORY: (Singing) But Jeff Goldblum, you'll never get rid of me.

DREISBACH: One of the things people keep saying to me is he's exactly like he is in the movies. And Evan Albert, Jace Alahee (PH) and Lucy Shanahan are basically just talking about one movie.

EVAN ALBERT: I mean, have you ever seen "Jurassic Park?"

JACE ALAHEE: "Jurassic Park's" my favorite movie since I was a little kid.

LUCY SHANAHAN: As someone born in the 80s, like, "Jurassic Park" was kind of up there in, like, life moments.

DREISBACH: Jeff really doesn't seem to mind that fact.

GOLDBLUM: (Singing) In "Jurassic Park," - scary in the dark. I'm so scared that I'll be eaten.

DREISBACH: In all, the band plays for three hours, getting looser and looser as the night goes on.

GOLDBLUM: (Singing) Summertime and the living is easy - (unintelligible).

DREISBACH: The show ends around midnight. As I leave, there's this line of people waiting for a picture with Jeff, and he stays for all of them.

GOLDBLUM: Come on. Let's take a picture.

DREISBACH: And, you know, if he's not up to anything else, he'll be out there against next Wednesday, working the room. Tom Dreisbach, NPR News.

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