Smooth jazz is relaxing, calming, ambient music. It shares some aspects with traditional jazz and offshoots of jazz, but it has its own distinct quality. In this blog, we’ll discuss what makes smooth jazz unique, how it came to be, and some smooth jazz artists you should check out!
What Defines Smooth Jazz?
Smooth jazz is a combination of easy-listening music and jazz qualities, often with some influence from R&B. It features most of the same instruments that traditional jazz uses. However, there are not usually any of the improvisational aspects that most other types of jazz are known for. It’s typically easygoing and relaxing, hence the name smooth jazz. It often gets a bad rap as being nothing more than background music. But it has quite a following, and for background music, it’s pretty good! Smooth jazz is frequently used to create a nice ambiance.
When Did Smooth Jazz Get Started?
Smooth jazz got its start in the 1970s. Musician Grover Washington Jr. is credited with being one of the main founders — if not the founder — of smooth jazz, with his unique, melodic, soft songs. While smooth jazz started in the 1970s, it reached peak popularity in the 80s and 90s. It still has a following today and can easily be found on various radio stations and at many establishments as ambient music.
What Famous Artists Are Known for Playing Smooth Jazz?
In addition to Grover Washington Jr., the most well-known current smooth jazz artist is Kenny G. Kenny G entered the smooth jazz scene with his 1986 album Duotones. Since then, he has released other albums, created music for movies, and performed at the White House. He is one of the most iconic smooth jazz artists.
What Are the Best Smooth Jazz Songs?
If you’re looking to check out some smooth jazz songs, here are some recommendations:
- “Inner City Blues,” “The Best is Yet to Come,” and “Black Frost” by Grover Washington Jr.
- “Love Power,” “Forever in Love,” and “Havana” by Kenny G
- “Soul Connection” by Brian Simpson
- “Ridin’ the Wave” by Vincent Ingala
- “Detour” by Boney James
If you’re looking to set a mood and steer clear of distractions, smooth jazz is the way to go. Play it in the background while studying, working, or just relaxing for a calming effect. Whatever you use it for, give smooth jazz a listen today!