A Must-See Documentary on a Brooklyn Icon — “Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past”

January 10, 2017 by

Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, has its New York City theatrical premiere on Friday, January 13th and runs through Thursday, January 19th at the Cinema Village Theater in Manhattan. Giordano, described as “Hollywood’s go-to guy”  for authentic period film soundtracks — The Aviator, The Cotton Club, half a dozen Woody Allen features, and the Grammy-winning HBO series Boardwalk Empire — is now, along with his band and his music, in front of the camera in a new documentary about his 40-year career keeping the hot jazz flame alive.

MLK, Jr. weekend 2017 marks another  milestone in the storied career of  native Brooklynite and resident Vince Giordano with Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, a documentary  about  the bandleader, musician, historian and collector. The film, which has already garnered awards from several film festivals, features appearances by Garrison Keillor, David Johansen and Catherine Russell, who have performed with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.


Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks / photo by Michael Lenic / courtesy of First Run Features

It’s been a little over three years since Brooklyn Roads‘ last feature story on Giordano, Brooklyn, Victrolas, Scorsese and All That Jazz, so this seemed a perfect time to find out from the source just how this Hudson West documentary film project came about.

Giordano told us that co-directors Dave Davidson and Amber Edwards approached him. “I have known them for years and we worked together before, including on the Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook series on PBS.”  The film got under way in 2012, with Davidson and Edwards going both on the road  to film performances  at locations that included the Newport Jazz Festival and the Iguana New York night club. Giordano told Brooklyn Roads that “there were several hundred individual songs that were recorded over that span of time that they were filming.”

When we asked about selecting the right songs, Giordano explained that, “Amber Edwards, as the editor, made most of the musical selections based on how good (or not) a performance was, how it would fit into the story, how it would fit with the song that came before and after; but I had the final say in terms of whether something was good enough to be included in the final cut .”


Vince Giordano / photo by Charlie Gross / courtesy of First Run Features

The documentary’s title came about during a conversation at one of the filming sessions. “I just happened to say the phrase ‘There’s A Future In The Past’ regarding my life’s work with the vintage music and such — and they said, ‘That’s our title for the documentary!’ It was really pretty unexpected.”

When Brooklyn Roads asked Vince about a connection to our borough in the film, he told us that it “captures Brooklyn in all of the scenes in my home and one scene at the Brooklyn Library that I go to.”