Nighthawks on the big screen: Vince Giordano documentary to be screened on both coasts

Vince Giordano knows his way around a soundstage.

The leader of New York City’s Grammy-winning band The Nighthawks lives in Brooklyn, but he’s also right at home in Hollywood. The 63-year-old musician has appeared in five Woody Allen movies Café Society, Sweet & Lowdown, Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Mighty Aphrodite as well as in the films The Cotton Club, The Aviator, and Revolutionary Road.

Red Wood Coast

He portrayed a Prohibition Era bandleader in HBO’s hit television series, Boardwalk Empire. The band won a 2012 Grammy for Best Compilation for Visual Media for their CD Boardwalk Empire Volume 1 – Music from the HBO Original Series.

Now the bandleader is the subject of a feature-length documentary about his own life and work, Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, which made its world premiere on March 5, at the Manchester International Film Festival in England.

Screenings of the documentary are scheduled at New York City’s Cinema Village Theater from Friday through Thursday, Jan. 13-19. The theater is located at 22 E.12th St. (between 5th and University). Daily showtimes are at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 PM, and Giordano and filmmakers Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards will appear at the 7 PM. screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $12 and $8 for seniors, students and children; (212) 924-3363;

Hot Jazz Jubile

There’s a Future in the Past will be shown on out West on April 4 in San Diego, Calif., April 5 in Scottsdale, AZ, and April 6 in Payson, Ariz. (all at Cinema Society, with show times TBA.

The movie opens in Los Angeles on April 14, at Laemmle Theaters, with show times TBA; Giordano will appear in person along with the film’s producers over the opening weekend in L.A.

The documentary credits Giordano and his hot ensemble for keeping Jazz Age music going strong in the 21st century. For nearly 40 years, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks have brought the joyful syncopation of the 1920s and ’30s to life with their virtuosity, vintage musical instruments and more than 60,000 period band arrangements.Vince Giordano Future in the Past

Jazz Lives blogger Michael Steinman reviewed the hot doc, writing, “The film brings us up in to the present with the New York Hot Jazz Festival and a band led by Nighthawk Dan Levinson (his ‘Gotham Sophisticats’) as well as a new generation of musicians inspired by Vince, who has shown that it is possible to play hot music at the highest level with accuracy and spirit.”

There’s a Future in the Past, now on DVD


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Russ Tarby is based in Syracuse NY and has written about jazz for The Syncopated Times, The Syracuse New Times, The Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse (JASS) JazzFax Newsletter, and several other publications.

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