Growing up, those of us who don’t live in or near LA are taught, through media, two opposing myths of Hollywood. The first is an unattainable dream–an olympian pantheon where heirs and heriesses mingle with publicly worshipped demigods. Where socialites and producers clink champagne glasses in ostentatious Gatsby-like homes. It of a world apart–above and away from the cares and worries of the real world, untouched and unsullied by plebeian influence. The other is the jaded nightmare of hollywood–the crabs-in-a-bucket competition, the horrors of the casting couch and backroom deals, the narcissism and desperate pandering. And both, while true in degrees, whats struck me most after living here for the majority of a decade is not witnessing either of these opposing worlds, but in the mundanity of the wide liminal space between dream and nightmare.

You learn, upon living here, that these demigods who supposedly inhabit these unattainable and exotic spaces apart from the rest of the world, are actually pretty banal. Their lives are as plagued by he relentless onslaught of boring reality as the rest of us, for the most part. You start to run into people on the street going about their daily lives. Maybe you see Chris Rock walking by on the street, talking on his phone, and laughing at something ridiculous a friend said. Or maybe Michael Douglas accidentally almost hits you with his car cause your not paying attention on your skateboard and gives the stern fatherly look you would expect. Or Kerry Washington cracks a joke while you’re stuck in an elevator. (These are all real stories) But coupled with most of our every day industries touching on some level of filmmaking…

…all of it seems so charmingly banal all of a sudden.

Sure there are still those nightmares (of course). Sure there are still, I am sure, those Olympian-like gatherings. But the most of life is just drudgery, whether you are famous or not, and one can hope that it is drudgery accomplished shoulder to shoulder and good naturedly with the entire rest of humanity.

This is a long way of saying that this is exactly what makes The Capitol Studios Sessions, Jeff Goldblum’s first jazz record accompanied by the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra ( and a bevy of guests) so damn appealing.

Goldblum has always been known for his languid and idiosyncratic delivery as much as his compelling acting chops. His persona, a quirky and puckish intellectual, has been perhaps the most important part of his rise to fame and his acceptance as a sex symbol. What, until now, I had failed to recognize was how influenced he was, or how much he embodies, a certain spirit of jazz in his very being.

It makes sense, then, that he has had a regular jazz show at a local LA club for years, hosting guests and entertaining anyone who walks in the door, his passion and love for the genre on full display. The Capitol Studios Sessions captures, with amazing clarity, a night of this that leaves you with a swelling warmth and a good natured charm, but is absolutely startling in its understadedn-ness.

It’s clear from the get-go that this isn’t some vanity project of a Hollywood elite. It’s a loving ode to the passion of music where Goldblum, while on piano, acts not so much as star musician but eager and silver-tongued Virgil. The song selection is all typical and well known jazz songbook songs. The Mildred Snitzer orchestra get the vast majority of attention. Goldblum manages to float somehow in the background; clearly in genuine awe of the musicians around him and his luck at getting to shepherd their musicianship to a wider audience. You can practically hear the man’s grin BEAMING throughout the record.

His selection of guests–from the stunningly talented Haley Reinhart to the surprising and earnest Sarah Silverman, to the silky and sultry Imelda May–belies a deep care and appreciation for genre, but also a profound care for the individuals themselves. Every time someone comes to the stage, Goldblum brings the listener’s attention to them. At the end of the record he openly marvel’s at his band’s talents, remarking in wonder “I think this was the best night of my life” as the record fades out.

Throughout the running time, all you hear is one man’s jubilation. That this one man has already achieved the heights of fame and fortune and remains striving and passionate about a project close to his heart, that he remains so clearly appreciative of those around him, that entertaining comes so naturally to him that he dances in and out of the limelight while making sure to highlight everyone else around him…its an encouraging and sometimes heart-warmingly human insight into the world of celebrity and it forges perhaps the best vision of what the myth of Hollywood really could be.