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Jeff Goldblum Q&A with The New York Times Magazine

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You've had a residency as a jazz pianist at the Los Angeles club Rockwell for years, but you just released your first official album with your group, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. I've been out and about in different places around Hollywood, just for fun. Thirty years ago, Peter Weller and I had this opportunity to go out and play with real musicians. I really loved piano as a kid. I had a couple of cocktail-lounge jobs in Pittsburgh, and then I've put it in movies a couple of times. It doesn't even feel like a performance of any kind. I'm not really trying to impress anybody.

What were your early musical influences? I played classical music in my early training, but I was a bad, undisciplined student, so I would dread my teacher coming over. He gave me "Alley Cat," which had syncopation with it, and finally I was like, "I'm going to sit here and play until I know how to do that." He gave me a couple of other things, "Deep Purple," by Peter De Rose, and "Stairway to the Stars," by Matty Malneck and Frank Signorelli, and those chords did something to me.

I think your acting style has always been very jazzy. You have a way of reading lines that makes them feel loose. Well, Sandy Meisner, my first teacher in New York, said don't copy anybody, so I've tried to find my so-called voice. I like playing characters. I feel like my improvisation has gotten better and more fully used recently on "Portlandia" and "Thor: Ragnarok." I've tried to find an authentic and clear path that allows me to contribute something that is of myself, something that I think I can do.
PHOTO: Sally Montana

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