When my dad was a teenager in the late 1960’s- early 1970’s he listened to Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson while his peers were listening The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. When I was a teenager I, too, discovered Sinatra and spent my time borrowing jazz albums from the library while my peers were listening to alternative and hip hop radio. I guess there’s something about my family that just enjoys the music of a distant era which is why I really related to the new documentary Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past that opens Friday at Laemmle Music Hall.
Vince Giordano a musician and bandleader based in Brooklyn has devoted much of his life to the music of the 1920’s and 30’s. Amassing a collection of arrangements over 60,000 strong he has managed to preserve the sound of an entire era. If you’ve admired the scores of countless Woody Allen films, The Aviator or Boardwalk Empire you can thank Mr. Giordano for providing that distinctive sound.
The film Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past by Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards profiles Mr. Giordano and his band The Nighthawks as he attempts to keep the music alive in the modern day.
The Nighthawks has existed as a band for nearly 40 years with Giordano acting as bandleader, singer, bass player and tuba player. Accompanying him are a group of talented musicians who work passionately to capture the era’s sound. During the band’s existence prosperity has ebbed and flowed with the tastes of the public. The 1980’s were a heyday but when the film opens times are a bit tough and The Nighthawks steady gig at a New York Italian restaurant has recently ended. Luckily, good times are around the bend thanks to today’s 1920’s revival.
I must admit that prior to viewing the film I had never heard of Vince Giordano. Shame on me. Not only is he an important figure in the world of jazz but in the entire music industry. Nearly single-handed he has preserved an entire generation of sound by traveling around the country and collecting thousands of musical arrangements and artifacts. Together with his band he recreated the sound of an era most of us did not experience firsthand. It’s a noble task and I’m very grateful for his efforts. The film serves as a tribute to the man and his passion and the filmmakers admiration shines through. In fact, its infectious. When the film I ended I found myself singing and dancing to the Irving Berlin standard “Let Yourself Go.” Thanks to Mr. Giordano future generations will be able to enjoy the music just as much as I do.