By Kent Leithold
Billed as “GOLDBLUM and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – Wednesdays at the 120-ish seat Rockwell Table & Stage restaurant in the heart of the trendy Los Feliz Village in Los Angeles. Hosting dark furniture, an atmospheric catacomb-like room with large baroque chandeliers and great food, Rockwell is a one-of-a-kind experience that only Hollywood can offer to get an up close experience with a performer. Very intimate venue indeed. Perfect for a quick trip LA or a vacation day excursion – like me.
Jeff Goldblum. everyone’s favorite character actor and star of scores of films (The Big Chill, Annie Hall, Earth Girls are Easy, The Fly, Jurassic Park, Independence Day and scores of others), and television shows, took the stage last night as he does most Wednesday nights to tickle the keys on the piano with an evening of cool, very weird jazz music (starting with Lee Morgan – The Sidewinder, ending with the jazz standard Caravan). It is all improv. Jeff never knows what his trio (including my friend, guitarist John Storie of the New West Guitar Group)is going to start a vamp with, until he jumps right in after recognizing the music.
He was there at the table next to me when I arrived, chatting antimatedly with friends before the show.
He takes a cordless mike 45 minutes before the show starts and chats up everyone in the audience, walking around making conversation, welcoming people and waving at his friends who have come to play for the evening. There was music, and between songs we all played trivia games (“10 funniest films ever made”, “Who Would You Rather Sleep With?” and the Jeff Goldblum Six Degrees of Separation Game), he even had a group on stage to reenact a scene from the Billy Wilder film, “Some Like It Hot”. It was a hoot and a half of an evening. I first met him back in 1988 in Riverside, CA when he was filming “Vibes” with Cyndi Lauper. Let me tell you, Jeff is genuine, warm, engaging and more than welcoming. That great smile. He hasn’t changed a bit over the years. It was a perfect evening spent with music, food, friends and a favorite star.