Concert: Vince Giordano's Nighthawks in Princeton, NJ
Taking a cue from the show "Treme," HBO's next series will also employ real musicians portraying a band appropriate for the time and place. Vince Giordano's Nighthawks will appear as an Atlantic City, NJ, dance band in the prohibition-era drama "Boardwalk Empire," a role that Giordano mentioned early in his headlining set at New Jersey's annual Princeton JazzFeast last Saturday, September 11.
The Nighthawks specialize in the jazz and swing of the 1920s and 1930s, with the occasional foray into the decades that precede and follow that era. Their concert, which Giordano leads as bassist, tubaist and bass saxophonist, is peppered with names such as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, Paul Whiteman, Bix Biderbecke and an assortment of forgotten arrangers and sidemen, many of whom have partnered with the Nighthawks over the last 34 years.
It's the sound of the oldest 78s brought to life, a mixture of early jazz and dance tunes, a journey through the musical hotbeds of New Orleans, Chicago and New York.
The Nighthawks' set in downtown Princeton, NJ's town square -- part of a four-act bill that including a sizzling performance by Aussie bassist-singer Nicki Parrott with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli -- was long on attempts to connect the post-WWI songs with more contemporary enterprises. While Giordano points out composer names and innuendo-laden song titles, the points of reference for many of the songs were their use in movies and TV shows. Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" is in the premier of "Boardwalk Empire" as is Bennie Moten's "Oh! Eddie"; the California Ramblers' "Shake That Thing" was recorded for "The Aviator"; and their version of the King Oliver tune "I Must Have It" is in the soundtrack to "Ghost World."
The information manages to make the music more inclusive and less scholarly, even as the musicians carefully stick to the time period and make no attempt to modernize their sound.
13, 14 - New York, NY - Sofia's Club Cache
17-19 - Chautauqua, NY - Jazz at Chautauqua
20, 21, 27, 28 - New York, NY - Sofia's Club Cache
4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 - New York, NY - Sofia's Club Cache
20 - New York, NY - Mutual of America
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28 - New York, NY - Lincoln Center
1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30 - New York, NY - Sofia's Club Cache
7, 13, 14, 20 - New York, NY - Sofia's Club Cache