Vince Giordano

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Vince Giordano
Birth nameVincent James Giordano
Born (1952-03-11) March 11, 1952 (age 69)
New York, New York, U.S.
GenresJazz, early jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger
InstrumentsBass saxophone
Years active1966–present
Associated actsNighthawks Orchestra

Vince Giordano (born March 11, 1952 in Brooklyn) is an American saxophonist and leader of the New York-based Nighthawks Orchestra. He specializes in jazz of the 1920s and 1930s and his primary instrument is the bass saxophone.[1] Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have played on television and film soundtracks, including the HBO series Boardwalk Empire and Woody Allen's musical comedy film Everyone Says I Love You.

Music career[edit]

When he was five, Giordano listened to music of the 1920s on a wind-up Victrola.[2] When he was 15, he played string bass and bass saxophone professionally and took lessons from Bill Challis to learn about writing arrangements like the dance bands of the 1920s and 30s. He performed with New Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Band, he New York Jazz Repertory Company, and Leon Redbone. His band The Nighthawks plays music from the early days of jazz, such as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.[3]

Lending his musical and acting talents to Francis Ford Coppola's film The Cotton Club led to working with Dick Hyman's Orchestra in half a dozen Woody Allen soundtracks, then acting as bass player, most notably in Sean Penn's band in Allen's Sweet and Lowdown. Giordano and the Nighthawks have appeared on soundtracks for the movies The Aviator, Finding Forrester, The Good Shepherd, and Public Enemies, the HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce, and the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.


Giordano is a music historian and collector with more than 60,000 scores in his collection. He is listed as "a friend of Thornton Hagert and the Vernacular Music Research's archive of music" in The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone by Michael Segall (2006).[4] In 2011, he was featured in the PBS series Michael Feinstein's American Songbook, in which he reveals his treasures from the Great American Songbook. His collection includes big band arrangements, silent movie scores, 78-rpm discs, piano rolls, and a Victrola.[2]


Giordano and his band have been guests on Garrison Keillor's variety radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. Turner Classic Movie Film Festival spotlighted him at Hollywood's Music Box, where the band performed vintage movie music, in addition to accompanying The Cameraman, a Buster Keaton silent film shown at the Egyptian Theater. In the summer of 2012, the band performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, Music Mountain, and the Litchfield Jazz Festival.

Awards and honors[edit]

Selected discography[edit]

  • Quality Shout (Stomp Off, 1993)
  • The Goldkette Project (Circle, 1994)
  • Music of the Cotton Club Revisited (Nighthawk, 2001)
  • Remembering Louis (Jump, 2002)
  • Cheek to Cheek (Nighthawk, 2003)
  • Moonlight Serenade – Big Band Hits of the 1930s & '40s (Nighthawk, 2006)
  • Top Hat, White Tie & Tails

Soundtrack appearances

With Leon Redbone

  • 1978 Champagne Charlie
  • 1981 From Branch to Branch
  • 1985 Red to Blue
  • 1991 Sugar
  • 1992 Up a Lazy River
  • 1994 Whistling in the Wind
  • 2001 Any Time

With Marty Grosz

  • 1996 The Rhythm for Sale
  • 2002 Remembering Louis
  • 2005 Chasin' the Spots
  • 2006 Marty Grosz and His Hot Combination
  • 2009 Hot Winds: The Classic Sessions
  • 2012 The James P. Johnson Songbook

With Back Bay Ramblers

  • 1994 My Mamma's in Town!
  • 2001 Cuttin' Up
  • 2003 Red Hot Band

With others

  • 1986 Chicago Jazz Summit, Chicago Jazz Summit
  • 1990 Get Yourself a New Broom (and Sweep Those Blues Away), Guy Van Duser
  • 1993 Jelly's Last Jam, Silver Leaf Jazz Band
  • 1994 Jazz Hot Ensemble, Jazz Hot Ensemble
  • 1994 The Keith Ingham New York 9, Vol. 1, Keith Ingham
  • 1994 The Keith Ingham New York 9, Vol. 2, Keith Ingham
  • 1997 Play the Music of Jelly Roll Morton, New Jazz Wizards
  • 2001 Sweet & Lowdown, Dave Van Ronk
  • 2001 Deep Night, Barbara Rosene
  • 2002 Things Are Looking Up, Paul Bacon
  • 2003 Black Manhattan: Theater and Dance Music of James Rick Benjamin, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
  • 2003 Celebrating Bix!, Bix Beiderbecke Centennial All Stars
  • 2003 Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen
  • 2004 Doin' Things, Andy Stein
  • 2004 If Bix Played Gershwin, Dick Hyman
  • 2004 It's De Lovely - The Authentic Cole Porter Collection, Cole Porter
  • 2006 Guess Who's in Town, Daryl Sherman
  • 2007 Lower Register: Bobby Gordon Plays Joe Marsala, Bobby Gordon
  • 2009 If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews, Mick Moloney
  • 2009 Together, Lew Green/Joe Muranyi[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vince Giordano plays bass saxophone on A Prairie Home Companion radio program, 9 April 2005
  2. ^ a b McGrath, Charles (3 September 2010). "Vince Giordano Leads 'Empire Boardwalk' Band". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Vince Giordano | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  4. ^ Segell, Michael (2005-10-15). The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone, from Noisy Novelty to King of Cool. ISBN 9781429930871.
  5. ^ "Vince Giordano | Credits | * 2020 I'd Rather Lead A Band, Loudon Wainwright III AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 December 2016.

External links[edit]