Post image for Music Review: JEFF GOLDBLUM & THE MILDRED SCHNITZER ORCHESTRA (Disney Hall)

by Tony Frankel on April 30, 2022

in Concerts / Events,Music,Theater-Los Angeles


Well, it’s my first time with Jeff Goldblum and his Mildred Schnitzer Orchestra, which played last night at Disney Hall. Here’s how it goes: Actor extraordinaire Goldblum plays kind of a compère, loosely introducing his friends in the house, or playing trivia between numbers. His incredible band evokes a loose, speakeasy atmosphere, with plenty of between-song camaraderie flipping around the players. When bassist Alexander Frank and guitarist John Storie improvised a few theme songs when Goldblum mentioned a movie or TV title, I wondered why he wasn’t fooling around with his band more and less with us. Had this taken place in a small arena, much of this could be forgiven as it would be more of a party, but in a huge hall it created a bit of a disconnect. There were massive amounts of cellphone gazing and a telling amount of early departures from some patrons. It’s not that the concert lacked joy or astounding musicians, but Goldblum’s repartee with both the crowd and his four less-than-stellar singers (who should leave the toastmastering to Goldblum) became a bit dull (an “Is he hotter before, or as a silver fox?” back-and-forth with the crowd was downright interminable).

Surprisingly, Goldblum’s jazz piano was the least interesting music of the night, not coming close to matching the riffs of saxophonist Scott Gilman, trombonist Nicholas Daley, or trumpeter Gilbert C. Castellanos. He’s certainly proficient and having a blast, but even with a natural swing and a deft, uncomplicated touch, he offered nothing that impressed and did very little soloing. I loved the selections, from Herbie Hancock’s “Driftin’” to Lalo Schifrin’s “The Cat,” and it was here that his pianism comes across the best with fluttery open arrangements (and terrific sound for this Hall, which can be acoustically challenging with microphones). It even amused as he poked his finger down in-between runs. I didn’t know what to expect, but certainly not him being overwhelmed by his bandmates’ fluency. Sure he’s been playing for decades, but without his musicians, he would never have played Disney Hall. I suppose his jazz could be enjoyed by people with an encyclopedic knowledge of players (as Mr. Goldblum has) right alongside someone who thinks jazz was invented for elevators. He’s a loveable gadabout raconteur who truly loves his peeps, his music, and his orchestra, but I advise you catch him when he plays the intimate Rockwell Table & Stage right here in Los Angeles.

played Disney Hall on April 29, 2020


Michel Lemieux May 3, 2022 at 11:15 am

Rockwell Table & Stage is unfortunately permanently closed.

Tony Frankel May 3, 2022 at 11:36 am

Noooooooooooooooooooo! Michael, that’s terrible news. Oh, the many many incredible times I have had there. So sad. Requiescat in pace.

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