Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks
Maurice Peress
Paul Whiteman Orchestra 1924
The Nighthawks play at Iguana NYC
Vince Giordano

90th Anniversary Celebration of Rhapsody in Blue
Paul Whiteman’s historic Aeolian Hall Concert will be recreated on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at The Town Hall, NYC, on the same day and same block as the original concert 90 years ago!

Program features solo pianists Ted Rosenthal, Jeb Patton, and the 22-piece Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Orchestra, conducted by Maurice Peress; Jazz Age concert will feature music of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern and Zez Confrey

New York, NY January 16 - Bandleader Vince Giordano and Conductor Maurice Peress, who share a love for American music, have joined forces to honor the 90th Anniversary of Paul Whiteman’s historic Aeolian Hall concert that introduced George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue.

This concert will be on Wednesday, February 12th, at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, NYC, at 8:00pm for a one-time-only performance. Tickets are modestly priced ranging from $25 to $40 and will be available at or at The Town Hall box office.

The program will recreate the authentic Whiteman concert “Experiment in Modern Music”.
In recognition of the "first jazz band recording," Whiteman opened with Livery Stable Blues, complete with mock horse whinnies and chicken squawks in the raucous hokum-style of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Whiteman then played his most-favored Palais Royal arrangements, which included solo turns for virtuoso banjo player Mike Pingatore, multiple-reed wizard Ross Gorman and trumpet player Henry Busse. Nighthawk virtuosos Ken Salvo, Dan Block, Michael Ponella, Dan Levinson and Jon-Erik Kellso will recreate solos and exact renderings from Whiteman’s hit records: Whispering, Limehouse Blues and Mama Loves Papa. Crowd-pleasing "knuckle busters" performed by the dashing novelty piano virtuoso Zez Confrey, will be recreated by brilliant jazz pianist Jeb Patton. Andy Stein (known for his work on “A Prairie Home Companion”) will be featured in Paul Whiteman’s role on violin.

When the audience returns for the evening’s second half, they will be greeted by an augmented Nighthawk orchestra. The three reeds, four brass and five rhythm pieces will be joined by eight violins, two French horns and an extra bass.

For the first time in his dance-band career, Whiteman put down his violin and took up a baton to lead special arrangements of selections including MacDowell’s To a Wild Rose and Rudolf Friml’s Chansonette, later known as the Donkey Serenade. Whiteman concluded the “Experiment” with Gershwin’s masterful Rhapsody in Blue, which had been commissioned especially for the occasion.

On February 12th, 2014, Rhapsody in Blue will feature the first winner of the Thelonious Monk competition, jazz piano virtuoso Ted Rosenthal.

“Whiteman’s idea that Gershwin compose ‘a jazz piece for solo piano and orchestra’ turned out to be inspired. Gershwin artfully transforms the same ragtime and blues harmonies, the fiddle, brass and sax colors, and the banjo and tuba rhythms that the audience had been listening and toe-tapping to throughout the evening, into a masterwork with immediate appeal,” says Peress. “With his Rhapsody in Blue for solo piano and jazz band, Gershwin took a giant step for American music. It is indisputably the first American orchestral work shaped from blues and ragtime that ‘crossed over’ and found a welcome place in the standard orchestral repertoire.”

“The original performance of Rhapsody In Blue in 1924 established George Gershwin as one of the truly unique voices in American music, and solidified Paul Whiteman’s reputation as America’s leading bandleader”, said Giordano. “By recreating this historic event, we honor Whiteman and Gershwin, and commemorate the 90th anniversary of the piece and the event that changed music forever.”