Corey Christiansen grew up in a musical family. His father, Mike Christiansen, started teaching him guitar at the age of five. Corey spent a lot of his youth learning the guitar and music. After high school, Corey received his bachelor’s degree from USU. A year later Corey left for Tampa Florida to study with legendary jazz guitar educator, Jack Petersen. In 1999, Corey received his master’s degree from the University of South Florida and took over the teaching duties of Jack Petersen the next year.
From 2000 to 2007 Corey was the senior editor and guitar clinician for Mel Bay Publications. This job allowed him to tour, give clinics, develop products, produce recordings and rub shoulders with the best musicians in the business. Corey has presented countless clinics and performances around the world and developed a fan base not only for his teaching but his playing.
“Awakening,” Corey’s first CD as a leader, was the initial release on Mel Bay Records, the entertainment-recording division of Mel Bay Publications. Awakening spent twelve weeks on the JazzWeek chart, reaching number 16 in March 2005. The title track, an original composition, consistently receives the most airplay from the recording.
MB3: Jazz Hits Vol. 1 marked a great leap in his national and international visibility as a player and producer. Teaming with an all-star band featuring fellow guitarists Vic Juris and Jimmy Bruno and being backed by legendary drummer Danny Gottlieb and first-call NY bassist, Jay Anderson, Jazz Hits Vol. 1 spent three weeks as the No. 1 jazz recording on North American jazz radio.
His first performance DVD – “Vic Juris & Corey Christiansen: Live at the Smithsonian Jazz Café” – was released in July 2006. Jazzwise-reviewer Mike Flynn gave the recording four stars, noting that “…Christiansen is well versed in the guitar’s sonic heritage and his judicious sense of phrasing finds him light-fingered even on the densest of changes and positively euphoric on his ballad work.”
In 2007 Corey moved back to his native Utah and was the Director of Curriculum for The Music School, a privately funded music program outside of Salt Lake City. During this time he continued an extremely active touring schedule playing all over the US and into Europe.
In the fall of 2007 Corey signed with Origin Records by the end of Feb. 2008 had two records ready for release. Laden with hooks and grooves, Roll With It is Corey’s debut release for Origin and features Matt Jorgensen on drums, Pat Bianchi on organ and David Halliday on sax. This critically acclaimed recording proved Corey was formidable player, arranger and composer. C. Michael Bailey of All About Jazz reviewed the CD stating that “Corey Christiansen has arrived with one of the most satisfying soul-jazz recordings of the year.” In May of 2010 his second offering for Origin Records, Outlaw Tractor, was released also to critical acclaim.