When Jay Rayner met Jeff Goldblum

One is a food critic, the other a Hollywood star … so what happened when they played jazz together?

Jeff Goldblum has huge hands. I know this because we are finger to finger at the keyboard of a Steinway grand piano in a glitzy central London hotel lobby, and he easily outspans my meaty paws. We are working our way through Herbie Hancock’s classic jazz tune Cantaloupe Island, the myriad heavy silver rings on his long fingers flashing under the lights as he takes a solo. If you want to get properly up close and personal with someone, play a piano duet with them. He hums the tune under his breath and rocks his shoulders into me as he plays. When it’s my turn to solo, he somehow manages to wrap his broad, 6ft 4in leather-jacketed frame around me to throw in some bass stabs down the bottom of the keyboard. He grins and laughs. Jeff Goldblum is in the room. And he’s enjoying himself.

No wonder. Goldblum the film star, the one who misplaced his mantra in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, who gave us all nightmares as he gene-spliced himself with an insect in David Cronenberg’s The Fly and battled aliens in Independence Day, is about to release his first jazz piano album, and he can’t quite believe his luck. “I’m grateful for the whole damn thing,” he tells me.

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