[UPDATE 6/11/21]: Funky guitarist/bandleader Cory Wong (Vulfpeck, The Fearless Flyers) and smooth jazz legend Dave Koz have released their first-ever collaborative album, The Golden Hour.
Released today, The Golden Hour captures the combustion created when two musical masters of two different generations ventured off their regular career paths and linked up with a powerhouse ensemble—including a five-piece horn section arranged by Prince’s chief horn arranger, Michael Nelson—to record live in the studio.
“The most beautiful part of what we have created on The Golden Hour is that while we’re both on the edge of our respective music scenes, we both brought to the session the energy of our live shows, which are very similar in a lot of ways,” says Cory Wong.
Adds Koz, “It’s all about exploration. The Golden Hour is on the edge of the day and night, just like we’re both on the edge of what is expected of us at this stage of our careers.”
The album arrived on Friday alongside a live video for its title track. Watch the video and listen to the The Golden Hour by Dave Koz and Cory Wong in its entirety below. You can also scroll down to check out more videos and background info on the Koz/Wong connection.
Dave Koz & Cory Wong – The Golden Hour – Full Album
Dave Koz & Cory Wong – “The Golden Hour” (Live)
[Video: Cory Wong]
[5/8/21] After years of mutual admiration and collaboration, funky guitarist/bandleader Cory Wong (Vulfpeck, The Fearless Flyers) and smooth jazz legend Dave Koz have announced the coming release of their new collaborative LP, The Golden Hour, out June 11th.
The road to The Golden Hour began back in 2018 when Wong posted a video explaining his goal to get the “Koz Nod,” the seal of approval of the acclaimed smooth jazz saxophonist. The self-described “internet ethnomusicologist” later continued on his quest to become a successful smooth jazz artist with another characteristically quirky video tutorial. In addition to the “mustache,” “white pants,” and “gold jewelry,” much of his smooth jazz success hypothesis revolved around the exploits of Dave Koz (“You think you’re gonna be sippin’ ‘ritas on the lido deck of the Dave Koz Cruise without a gold watch? You’re living in the wrong time zone”).
In the fall of that year, the Nod came through when Koz sat in with Vulfpeck at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater. Not long after, Wong and Koz released a collaborative track, “Friends At Sea“, finally bringing the Koz Nod to fruition.
The “Koz Nod” blossomed from there, as Dave joined Vulfpeck at various ensuing shows (like the band’s Madison Square Garden debut in 2019) and jumped on a pair of tracks on one of Wong’s eight 2020 albums, Elevator Music for an Elevated Mood.
For The Golden Hour, Wong’s goal was simple. As he explains in a teaser video for the collab, “When we had first talked about making this album, I thought, ‘One stipulation: I want it to feel like your live show, I want that Dave Koz to be represented.’ … [His] other albums have a lot of production elements … The vision that I thought would be fun is to strop back a lot of that and put in more of the work on the front end.
Adds Koz, “Now that I’ve been doing this for so long, the idea of doing something that is the same things just has very little appeal to me. I want to be pushed and pulled into new directions. I want to get to the studio and not know if I can do it. I want the full Cory Wong with me doing this as a duet project. … All being in the studio at the same time just captured, like, lightning in a bottle. I’m so proud of it, it’s so different from everything that I’ve done before. … I believe that [Cory’s] fans and my fans will find great joy in this music.”
“Recording The Golden Hour was the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio. It was also the most terrifying, but in a good way, because it was all about being vulnerable and having to stand on my own musical instincts, with everyone jamming on the arrangements at the same time,” Dave Koz explains in a press release.
Cory Wong, who produced the album, co-wrote 10 of its 11 tracks, and played electric guitar, among other instruments, also adds, “Besides The Golden Hour being one of Dave’s favorite songs on the album, the term conjures up an image of a quintessential part of the day, either the afternoon before sunset or just after the sun comes up. That moment is about capturing warmth and authenticity when you feel so alive and full of energy, excited about what the future may hold. It’s that intersection between night and day, a transitional moment where momentum shifts from one thing to another.”
Check out the album teaser video and Cory’s amusing pseudo-announcement video below.
Dave Koz and Cory Wong Collaboration Album Teaser
[Video: Dave Koz]
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In celebration of the album’s release, Dave Koz and Cory Wong have also announced a livestream show on Saturday, June 12th, during which they will perform the entire album live from the roof of a houseboat while “cruising Minneapolis’ St. Croix River at sunset.”
Along with the album’s announcement, Koz and Wong have shared a live performance video of The Golden Hour‘s lead single, “Today”. Check out the video and track listing below and pre-save The Golden Hour here.
Dave Koz and Cory Wong – “Today”
[Video: Cory Wong]
Dave Koz and Cory Wong – The Golden Hour – Track Listing
The Golden Hour – Track Listing
2. Getaway Car
3. Feed The Id
4. The Golden Hour
5. Junkyard Dunebuggy
6. Little Rascals
7. Family Reunion
8. Engine 71
9. Your Side of Town (Art of Key Noise) feat. Phoebe Katis
10. Together Again
Cory Wong has been nothing if not prolific over the past year. In 2020, Wong released eight albums, from live LPs to acoustic concept projects to full-band studio efforts. He kicked off 2021 with Cory and the Wongnotes, a variety show/album recorded live on a soundstage “bubble” last summer.