Just when we thought the man couldn’t get any cooler, a moustachioed, white pant-wearing Cory Wong dialled up the intensity with an awesome new live session for Paste magazine, last week. As followers of Wong’s YouTube channel will know, the Vulfpeck rhythm guitarist’s new look isn’t purely impulsive, it’s part of his calculated plan to infiltrate the smooth jazz clique. Bizarre as it sounds, it appears to be working!
Chief among Wong’s ambitions was to get what he termed ‘the Koz nod’ – in other words, the artistic seal of approval from smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz. Well that happened earlier this year, when in July, the saxophonist flew from Burbank to Minnesota especially to play with Wong in the studio. Then, just this weekend, Koz joined Vulfpeck on stage in Brooklyn. And what was Koz wearing… white pants of course. Cory may just have cracked it! The adulation has paid off and the look on Wong’s face when he and Koz play together, says it all.
Having ticked this of his list of ambitions, all that remains for Wong is to get his track Jumbotron Hype Song played over the Madison Square Garden system during a New York Knicks game, then it’s all aboard the rhythm guitar cruise. Check out his awesome new Paste session below, featuring two tracks from new album The Optimist and heaps of positive energy from the ever-optimistic musician.
Cory may have brought out the Koz in Brooklyn, but when he returns to the UK for The Optimist tour in Spring 2019, he welcomes some serious British talent to join him and his band on stage, including vocalist Phoebe Katis, who hopped on his track ‘Juke on Jelly’ and wowed us at Cory’s Band on the Wall show earlier this year; award-winning saxophonist Alexander Bone, who is currently studying at Royal Academy of Music in London; RAM graduate and trombonist Olli Martin; prolific collaborator (having played with Gregory Porter, James Bay, Basement Jaxx and more) James Copus on trumpet and London-based jazz/funk/hip-hop bassist Seth Tackaberry.