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Vince Giordano: There's a Future in the Past (2016)

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Bandleader Vince Giordano keeps the Jazz Age alive with his 11-member band The Nighthawks, vintage musical instruments, and a collection of more than 60,000 original arrangements from the 1920s and '30s.


Dave Davidson (co-writer), Amber Edwards (co-writer)
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Vince Giordano ... Himself - Band leader
Garrison Keillor ... Himself
David Johansen ... Himself
Terry Gross Terry Gross ... Herself - Interviewer (voice)
George Wein George Wein ... Himself
Catherine Russell Catherine Russell ... Herself
Andy Stein Andy Stein ... Himself - Violinist
Mark Lopeman Mark Lopeman ... Himself - Reeds
Jim Fryer Jim Fryer ... Himself - Trombone
Jon-Erik Kellso Jon-Erik Kellso ... Himself - Cornet
Dan Levinson Dan Levinson ... Himself - Reeds
Mike Ponella Mike Ponella ... Himself - Trumpet
Ken Salvo Ken Salvo ... Himself - Banjo / Guitar
Peter Yarin Peter Yarin ... Himself - Pianist
Adrian Cunningham Adrian Cunningham ... Himself - Reeds


A feature-length documentary about musician, scholar and bandleader Vince Giordano who, with his 11-member band The Nighthawks, has doggedly kept alive the popular music of the 1920s and '30s for the past forty years. Through Vince's story, the viewer will be immersed in the Hot Jazz and Swing that fueled Prohibition high-jinx and cheered up Depression-era America. And they will see what it takes to make a life as a professional jazz musician in 21st Century New York. Giordano's dedication, along with a handful of others, has kept this cultural phenomenon on life support through hard times, and introduced it to a new generation of Hot Jazz devotees and virtuosos who are laying claim to this joyful, energetic music.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

14 April 2016 (USA) See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$684, 20 January 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,285, 14 April 2017
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Vince Giordano plays an unusual Aluminum String Bass. Musicians aboard seagoing ships preferred aluminium to the traditional wooden bass so it wouldn't warp or crack from sea moisture or freeze in Alaska. See more »


Tiger Rag
Written by Tony Sbarbaro, Nick LaRocca (as D. James La Rocca), Edwin B. Edwards, Henry Ragas , Larry Shields
Courtesy of EMI Feist Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)
Performed by Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks
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User Reviews

Vince Giordano: There's a Future in the Past explores the passion of a bandleader, his consummate musicians and their efforts to honor jazz from almost a century ago.
14 January 2017 | by aimlgcSee all my reviews

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have been playing jazz in the US, and primarily in the New York City area, for over 40 years. This film lovingly explores his decades as a bandleader; his commitment to collecting, preserving and archiving the original sheet music of over 60,000 songs (and what to do with such a collection in his basement?); his perpetual loading and unloading of the band's equipment in his van (there's a lot of lugging depicted); and offers a behind the scenes look at the drains of what old school band promotion still entails, even when you're the Hollywood go-to guy for music of these eras Charming indie film. Other than that you'll smile and tap your toes (and maybe even applaud) throughout, there's such merit in this little gem. Vince and the Nighthawks are consummate musicians dedicated to preserving and honoring jazz from decades ago; this film is a lovely homage to all of them. (They schlep a lot of equipment and they bring joy to everyone who listens to them.) Cross your fingers for wider release of the film, and for someone to ask "How come Vince hasn't gotten a MacArthur Genius Award yet?" and to get that ball in motion.

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