The sunshine of guitarist Cory Wong
Cory Wong is a lot of things: "There's the guitar nerds, there's the jazz nerds, there's the funk nerds. And I am one of those in all of those" says Wong, who can also add songwriter, first-call musical collaborator and talk show host to his resume. That breadth of experience can be felt and heard in every moment Cory lays his six strings on — especially his joyous musical output as a bandleader.
We caught up with Cory and his aptly named backing band, the Wongnotes, on the main stage of the 2021 Newport Jazz Festival to capture a show as sunny as the summer weather. The Minnesota native took us through an eclectic set list of numbers speaking to his tastes and past — sparked by a moment seeing the group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones in his youth. "I needed to see that to. .. give me permission to do what I do," says Wong. "Jazz meets funk meets R&B meets pop, meets all these other things... These cats are making it happen. I can find my unique voice on the instrument and really give it a go."
Cory Wong, guitar; Sam Greenfield, alto saxophone; Kenni Holmen, tenor saxophone; Sly5th Ave, baritone saxophone; Steve Strand, trumpet; Jon Lampley, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; Kevin Gastonguay, keyboards; Sonny Thompson, bass; Petar Janjic, drums; Nêgah Santos, percussion
(All music by Cory Wong)
Credits: Writers and Producers: Trevor Smith and Alex Ariff; Host: Christian McBride; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Vice President of Visuals and Strategy at NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann and Gabrielle Armand.
Live music recording and mixing: Steve Remote, Aura-Sonic Limited for Newport Festivals Foundation LLC; Location audio engineers: Graham Tobias, Steve Kolakowsky; Recorded media wrangler: Ken McGee; Additional field producing: Sarah Geledi
Special thanks to Newport Festivals Archivist Billy Glassner, the Newport Festivals Foundation, Dan Rucinski and Jake Hartsfield
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