Smooth jazz

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Smooth jazz is a variety of jazz . It is mostly assigned to instrumental-oriented music , which combines elements from pop music , blues, soul and jazz, whereby the tendency towards pop music is strongly pronounced and the jazz element plays a more cautious role. Characteristic are generally catchy hooklines with alternating instrumental solo parts, supported by a relaxed groove .


The term smooth jazz was developed in the USA in the late 1980s as a marketing argument for a new radio format . It was chosen as a replacement for the earlier format "Beautiful Music", which shaped the radio scene in the field of background music in the USA in particular in the 1970s and early 1980s . In recent years it can be seen that this term has been narrowed down more and more by radio consultants and that innovations in this genre can be found less and less in the area of ​​the radio market. Ultimately, this development means that this area of ​​music tends to show lower sales.

The musicians and labels are increasingly diversifying and mixing with other styles ( urban , R&B , lounge , chill out , hip-hop, etc.). At least in the USA, the musician's trend towards this genre is unbroken.

Smooth jazz is sometimes (negatively) referred to as "department store music" or "elevator music", as this music can often be heard as background music in these locations . Smooth jazz is also often heard as background music in TV documentaries or weather reports, as well as in some TV series, particularly from the USA (“Monk”, “Sex And The City”).

Nowadays, smooth jazz is not infrequently produced in studios with the help of modern computer technology and synthesizers; the individual lead voices of acoustic instruments (mostly guitar or saxophone) are played in via an arrangement of computer-produced beats and synthesizer sounds.

In the USA in particular, smooth jazz has become widespread, and this is strongly supported by the format radio stations there . This style is played live in America, where there is a distinct scene with a large number of events with a focus on the Los Angeles area. In Europe, support for this genre of music by radio stations has so far been less pronounced. However, there are definitely festivals, for example in the Algarve and Mallorca. The range of so-called smooth jazz cruise holidays is constantly growing.

Some performers in this genre

Mindi Abair , George Benson , Rick Braun , Richard Elliot , Kenny G , Bob James , Gregg Karukas , Marcus Miller , Nelson Rangell , Lee Ritenour , David Sanborn , Tom Scott , Spyro Gyra , Sade , Grover Washington, Jr. and Dave Koz are rated as a typical representative of smooth jazz.

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