In an article in the Sunday Star-Ledger, this week by Tris McCall, we are given an insight into the wonderful music that is not only a background, but a great highlight to this wonderful new HBO series. The producers of Boardwalk Empire make a great effort to ensure that everything from that era is authentic and the music is no exception.
Vince Giordano who plays the bandleader of the Nighthawks at Babette’s, where Nucky Thompson celebrated his birthday is a true aficionado of the music of the era. Actually, Vince owns a Stroh violin; a combination of a fiddle with its own amplifying device built right in and has used it on the show. Vince started his band in 1976 and keeps the music of the 20’s and 30’s alive and well by using authentic instruments. The Stroh violin was created to amplify the string instruments that were overpowered by the brass when playing during that era because there were no microphones in the clubs back then.
Giordano became hooked on this musical era when he discovered a collection of phonographs in his grandmother’s basement. She was a fan of Al Jolson and Paul Whiteman. As a youngster he loved these records and did not get a chance to hear this type of music on the radio, but cartoons and programs like Little Rascals featured this genre.
So thanks to one man’s love of musical history, we are fortunate to have the real thing; or as close as we can get to it on Boardwalk Empire. His music was also featured in movies such as “The Aviator” in 2004 and the Woody Allen movie, “Sweet and Lowdown.” For Giordano, his dream is coming true, and although they are no longer here, for a short while he gets to work with the likenesses of Sophie Tucker, Edith Day and even Eddie Cantor.
If you would like to see Vince Giordano in person, he and his band appear at Sofia’s on 221 West 46th Street, in New York City on Monday and Tuesday nights. You can check YouTube and iTunes for his soundtracks too!