As some of you know, I have a couple of degrees in music and spent five happy years of my life as a band and choir director – Music was my first love. When I hear great music, I’m still moved by (and just a little jealous of) the people who get to perform it. So last night, a friend and I decided it was a live music night. We met up at the basement of Sofia’s restaurant on 46th Street, where every Monday and Tuesday night, there is a little known opportunity to leave the world behind and enjoy an era gone-by. Let me introduce you to Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.
I met Vince years ago when we were producing Bobby Short’s birthday party at the Rainbow Room. (Just to name drop a little further, Jessye Norman sang “Happy Birthday. It was one of those nights.) I had not heard Vince’s band before, but I was invited to stay for dinner, so when they cranked up, I was surprised to find myself absolutely transported.
If ever a man has found his bliss, it would be Vince Giordano. When you meet Vince, he’s a big man, but has such a calm aura about him that you’re almost taken off-guard. He says things like “geeeez” and “swell,” and you’re both surprised and a bit endeared by a vocabulary that sounds so naturally yesteryear. What is most striking about Vince is his absolute unwavering conviction to his music. He is a preservationist, a walking encyclopedia of Big Band music and its performers. You can see the true love that he has for what he does. To see him perform and watch him “be” in the moment on stage is a study in Zen.
We’ve hired The Nighthawks for big corporate events and other VIP birthday parties, and they never fail to entertain. Look around the room, and all you see are big smiles on everyone’s faces. But nothing like the smile on my face when I found out last night that they had just won a Grammy for their music on the soundtrack to the HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire.”
The next time you’re in New York, I urge you to seek out this secret treasure of ours. You might even find me there, with a big ole smile on my face.
The Secret Ingredient: Find your bliss.