Goldman's Blankfein Dreams of the Circus While Listening to Jazz

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein has “always had a hankering to be part of Cirque du Soleil,” he said, referring to the Canadian producer of acrobatic spectacles. “I just have to find an outfit that fits.”

He’s not the only finance type expressing artistic aspirations lately -- earlier this week, Steve Cohen said he wants to be a ballerina. But for now, the hedge fund founder and the Goldman CEO will stick to supporting the arts.

The humanities are important to Goldman employees “because we’re human,” Blankfein said Wednesday night at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s anniversary gala honoring his friends from college, Lisa and Dick Cashin.

A New Orleans second line appeared as Blankfein finished speaking. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s founder Wynton Marsalis put down his trumpet to weigh in. “Wall Street needs jazz because of the integrity of it,” he said.

Later, near Tony Bennett’s table, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s pushing to prevent those pardoned by the president from evading potential state prosecution, said music helps him maintain a sense of balance.

“It’s a stressful time," Schneiderman said. “If I didn’t listen to music very regularly, I’d have a hard time coping."

On this evening, Dianne Reeves crooned Billie Holiday’s “You Go to My Head,” Jared Grimes tap danced and Jimmy Heath played the sax. Guests included Thomas Kempner, Art Samberg, Robert F. Smith, Valentino Carlotti and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Chairman Robert Appel, who brought 80 people.

“We need jazz because we need something that’s going to feed ourselves,” said the actress Glenn Close, who hosted the show. “We’re in a country that’s fractured and jazz speaks to everybody, and everybody takes out of it something different. That’s what we need.”

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