The entirety of Cory Wong’s biography on his website is three sentences. You’ve already read the first two. While many contemporary artists want their audiences to know every detail of their lives, often going out of their way to keep up with various social media outlets, the brevity and simplicity of Wong’s bio suggests a different path. That suggestion is clear; Cory Wong’s music speaks for itself.
For those unfamiliar, Cory Wong is a guitarist from Minneapolis whose music spans across multiple genres including rock, jazz, funk, pop, and r&b. His love of music stems from the rock and jazz records his father would play during his childhood. First engaging in piano lessons at the age of nine, Wong would eventually start a punk rock band while in high school before attending the McNally Smith College of Music.
The word that consistently comes to mind anytime I hear Cory Wong’s music is “jam”. Wong never gives his instrument a moment to rest, instead playing riffs with such speed and technical precision that the sound produced leaps across the room like a rabid animal.
Popular funk group Vulfpeck went through a similar experience the first time they had a jam session with Cory Wong. The session was so musically productive that it was eventually rerecorded and turned into the song “Cory Wong” on their 2016 album “The Beautiful Game”. The partnership between Vulfpeck and Wong has persisted as the latter has recorded on every Vulfpeck album since then in addition to becoming a consistent touring member of the group.
But Cory Wong has a blossoming solo career as well. Since 2017, Wong has released a studio album every single year. He has labelled his 2020 release, “Elevator Music for an Elevated Mood”, as the second half to his project from the previous year, “Motivational Music for the Syncopated Soul”. Both albums are firmly rooted in a jazz-funk sound that oozes with unbridled energy.
Watching Cory Wong play live, its beyond evident how invested he is in the music. His guitar becomes one with him and fans are left in a space of musical wonder for the entirety of the show. Catch Cory Wong as he plays live at the Theater of the Living Arts this Friday, January 24th.