HBO, Sunday nights at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time. From the review in today's New York Times, "The new HBO series Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City during Prohibition, is lavish, exquisite and attentive to detail." See the complete review in
From the New York Times a couple of weeks ago.
Playing a Bandleader and Keeping It Real
Vince Giordanos band, the Nighthawks, in a scene from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. By CHARLES McGRATH
VINCE GIORDANO didnt just record, with his band, the Nighthawks, much of the music on Boardwalk Empire. He also served as an invaluable historical resource.
Mr. Giordano, 58, who plays a bandleader on the series, lives in a small house in the Midwood section of Brooklyn that has virtually been taken over by his collection of early-20th-century American music and music memorabilia: piano rolls, old 78s, silent-movie scores, big-band arrangements, all carefully cataloged. The collection has even invaded his bedroom, where at the foot of the bed he keeps what he calls his Rosebud: his grandmothers windup Victrola, on which as a 5-year-old he began listening to music from the 20s.
So much of the music that I play and seek has been dispersed, he said. The 20th century was such a disposable time. Old is out, new is better. He added that the music of Boardwalk Empire is really a hybrid form: It was called rag-a-jazz. Youre just getting out of World War I, which was such a horrific event, and I think young people just said, Were going to have a good time, and the music really reflects that. You had early syncopation but still a little bit of ragtime feel. It was the baby steps of jazz.
If the show is renewed for a second season or more and moves on later into the 20s, Mr. Giordano assumes that the music will advance with it. He is greatly looking forward to incorporating the music of the bandleader Paul Whiteman, who became a fixture in Atlantic City starting in late 1920 with songs like Wang Wang Blues.
Randall Poster, the music coordinator for the series, is similarly enthusiastic. Whiteman was so famous, he was like a combination of Frank Sinatra with a band of Justin Biebers, he said. But he added quickly that he felt very protective of Mr. Giordano: We adore Vince. He embodies the lost memories of that time. So Mr. Poster has already figured out that when Whiteman arrives and pushes Mr. Giordanos band off the bandstand, Mr. Giordano will just have to join the Whiteman orchestra.