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1920s: Birth of the Big Band

  • Spiegeltent at Bard College 60 Manor Avenue Annandale-on-Hudson, NY United States (map)

Hear the music of an era of bootlegged booze, the Foxtrot, and Jazz Age decadence in an evening of vintage swing by Grammy Award-winning Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks.

Big Band leader and multi-instrumentalist Giordano brought the sounds of the Roaring Twenties to life in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (and can be seen & heard throughout all five seasons) and has recorded for countless films and TV series over the past three decades, with recent titles including Café Society (2016), Carol (2015), and the first season of the new Amazon series Z: The Beginning of Everything (2017). Giordano was recently featured in the multi-award winning documentary There’s a Future in the Past, a behind-the-scenes look at the group’s virtuosity, vintage musical instruments, and more than 60,000 period band arrangements.

For an authentic look back at the Birth of the Big Band, join Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks as they bring the joyful syncopation of the 1920s to the Spiegeltent through the music of such essential bandleaders as Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Jean Goldkette, and others.

About Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks: In 1976, Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks (originally known as the New Orleans Nighthawks) was formed. His dynamic band has been booked for black tie galas at the New York Public Library, the Waldorf Astoria, the Rainbow Room and many private events for the patrons of the NY Pops, NYC Opera, NYC Ballet and countless charitable organizations. Vince has also performed at the Smithsonian Institute, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Jazz Festivals around the world.

Giordano started recording motion picture soundtracks in National Lampoon’s Movie Madness (1981). After meeting Dick Hyman, Vince was lending his musical and acting talents to Woody’s Allen’s Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy (1982), Zelig (1983), Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Cotton Club (1984) under the baton of Bob Wilber, and more Woody Allen soundtracks including: Purple Rose of Cairo (1984), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Radio Days (1985), Billy Bathgate (1991), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), then acting as a bass player, most notably in Sean Penn’s on-screen band in Woody’s Sweet And Lowdown. He and the Nighthawks band have been both onscreen and in the studio for Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) directed by Howard Brookner; Gus Van Sant’s film Finding Forrester (2000), in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004), and Sam Mendes’ film Revolutionary Road (2009). Other recording projects include soundtracks for Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World (2001); Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages (2007), Robert DeNiro’s film, The Good Shepherd (2010), Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (2009), Michael Mann’s film Public Enemies (2009), along with HBO’s – Grey Gardens (2009) and Todd Haynes’ HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce (2011).

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks recorded four tunes for the HBO TV film Bessie (2015) starring Queen Latifah as blues legend Bessie Smith. The official soundtrack is on Sony Legacy Recordings.

In 2012, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawk won a GRAMMY: Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media for their work on BOARDWALK EMPIRE Volume 1 – Music from the HBO Original Series CD. Vince and the band are heard and seen on Boardwalk Empire throughout five seasons.

Vince and the band have also been on the USA Network series Royal Pains. In January 2013, they performed at the 92nd Street Y for the Lyrics & Lyricist “Makin’ Whoopee” with Christine Andreas, Jason Graae, Howard McGillin, Laura Osnes and Bolcom & Morris.

More than simply a performer, Giordano is a big-band historian and collector with more than 60,000 scores in his collection. In 2011 they performed at Turner Classic Movie Film Festival with an original score accompanying Buster Keaton’s silent film The Cameraman at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Also in 2011, Vince and the band were on the PBS series Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, where Vince revealed some treasures from the Great American Songbook. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are renowned on the New York scene for their commitment to preserving and authentically presenting 1920s and ‘30s jazz and popular music.

Earlier Event: July 8
Goldberg Variations/Variations
Later Event: July 14
Artist Talk: Birth of the Big Band