Photo by Steve Friedman
"An erupting sense of euphoria: that would describe the vintage Swing eminating from Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks"-- The New York Times
A chance discovery of piles of 78s in his grandmother’s attic spawned a lifelong devotion to music in a five-year-old Vince Giordano. He began with violin, switched to tuba in 7th grade, and then added the string bass and bass saxophone. The ambitious Giordano joined the musicians union at age 14 and started playing with Dixieland banjo bands around Long Island. He became interested in the music of Bix Beiderbecke and studied with Bill Challis, the legendary arranger for Paul Whiteman. He joined the Navy Show Band after high school, toured Europe and then established home base in New York.
In 1976 he formed Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks. Thirty-six years later, they are busier than ever. The band appears every Monday and Tuesday night at Sophia’s on Times Square where lovers of the music of the 1920s and 30s gather to listen and to dance. Vince has performed at the Smithsonian, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Jazz Festivals around the world. The band is a perennial favorite for black tie galas and private events.
Early on he appeared with Leon Redbone and on A Prairie Home Companion. More recently he has been heavily engaged in film and television. He appeared in Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club and worked with Dick Hyman in half a dozen Woody Allen soundtracks, most notably in Allen’s collaboration with Sean Penn, Sweet And Lowdown. He and the band worked on Gus Van Sant’s Finding Forrester; in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator; and Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road. Other recording projects include soundtracks for Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World; Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages, Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd, Sam Mendes’ Away We Go, Michael Mann’s film Public Enemies, along with HBO’s – Grey Gardens and Todd Haynes’ HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce. Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks were nominated for a 2012 Grammy for their work on BOARDWALK EMPIRE, the HBO television series created by Martin Scocese. They have also worked on the USA Network show, Royal Pains 3RD season. In 2011, he was also featured in the PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook and on the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival.
Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are renowned for their commitment to preserving and authentically presenting the jazz and popular music of the swing era. Giordano is also a big-band historian and collector with more than 60,000 scores in his archives. This summer his band will appear at Music Mountain and both the Litchfield Jazz Festival and at Newport Jazz. It is his first appearance at Litchfield. Vince appears on Friday night on string bass, bass saxophone and tuba with Andy Stein on violin and baritone saxophone, Mike Ponella and Jon-Erik Kellso on trumpets, Jim Fryer on trombone, Dan Block, Mark Lopeman and Dan Levinson on clairnet, alto and soprano saxophones, Ken Salvo on guitar and banjo, Arnie Kinsella on drums.