Phenomenon of Smooth Jazz

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Does anyone ever think it kind of interesting how this music has not really changed much in the last 40 years.

    Before, it seems like jazz changed more drastically about every 5 years or so.

    What's the cause? Is this like some Perfect form of music that achieved that level 40 years ago? Did something special happen in the world around 1980?

    Discuss this phenomenon or your favorite artists in the genre.
  2. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Here is a good newer band.

  3. bass12

    bass12 Grace under pressure Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    She’s no Frankie Beverly, that’s for sure.
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Blame it on Clear Channel! They dictated the genre and basically said, do it this way or no radio play. They also bought up jazz radio stations and either killed them or changed the format. Many artists conformed! Some didn't and still do their own thing.
    Jhengsman, jymyben, Robot.G and 16 others like this.
  5. svlilioukalani

    svlilioukalani Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2012
    Seattle, Wa
    I blame Kenny G.
  6. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  7. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    It hasn’t changed because it is essentially muzak with a very thin veneer of would-be hipness for people who don’t want to be challenged, and don’t want what they’re listening to(if they’re actually listening to it)to change.

    To that I would add…
    KJazz 88.1 | America's Jazz and Blues Station
    …then, while there’s not full time jazz programing on this station, a friend of mine has been doing this show weekend nights for over 35 years…
    Fish Fry
  8. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I have to respectfully disagree with the critics. Some just don't have an ear for melodic music.
  9. Qlanq


    Jul 9, 2007
    In the early 90's I had Jazz FM ( the main Jazz station in the UK) set as my alarm in the morning.
    I would wake up to Weather Report and Miles Davis.
    It pretty much changed overnight to Kenny G and the rest.
    I'm not averse to a bit of lounge music but not all the time.
    Novarocker and Alex Bass like this.
  10. bass12

    bass12 Grace under pressure Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Are you suggesting that anyone who dislikes “smooth jazz” simply doesn’t “have an ear for melodic music”?
    gebass6, Shorelinegold and DrMole like this.
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Music was perfected in the Baroque era. Then it was perfected again in the Classical era. Then in the Romantic era. And so on and so forth. Nobody writes Baroque music today, so the body of Baroque music all comes from a particular time period. If you love Baroque and can't stand Classical, you will feel that they're just not writing the good stuff any more.

    So I don't think you're describing a particularly unique or surprising circumstance.

    Since the end of the jazz era, jazz has always been a niche genre, supported by enthusiasts. A lot of great jazz was made in living rooms or obscure clubs. There are people making great jazz, just not a huge number of them. So if a particular style of jazz were found to have commercial appeal, and promoted for air play, that style could easily appear to dominate jazz while having no real impact on what's actually "happening" on the jazz scene for lack of a better term.

    I find all commercial airplay to be revolting. My car came with a trial subscription of Sirius XM. While I love classical music, the curation of classical and "jazz" channels all seemed designed to put me to sleep by sheer uniformity and repetition. We let the subscription lapse when it ended.

    For me, part of the reason why I enjoy jazz is because I play jazz, so I can relate to the music in a particular way. I've literally never been asked to play smooth jazz, and it's a mystery who plays it and where they perform.
    jibreel, JoshS, Jason Hollar and 14 others like this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Phenomenon of Smooth Jazz
    it's huge with fans --- combining a lot of improvisation with comprehendible grooves/motifs by some of the best players. smooth jazz artists are touring and filling venues regularly.

    "smooth jazz" isn't my favorite, but i've written and arranged enough of it --- the fandom is real! ;)
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member


    google the concert schedules of the cats who play it:
    - george benson
    - dave koz
    - david sanborn
    - boney james
    - gerald albright
    - richard elliot
    - candy dulfer
    - chuck mangione
    - mindi abair
    - norah jones
    - sade
    - yada yada

    and in their time: grover washington, george duke, chuck loeb, al jarreau, joe sample, yada yada
  14. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    What happened, why did jazz stop evolving……
    Miles Davis died.

    \nuff said
    JoshS, Alex Bass, Giraffe and 5 others like this.
  15. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Jazz is still evolving. The smooth jazz branch may be stagnant, but that doesn't represent all of jazz.
    Jhengsman, DWBass, tbz and 4 others like this.
  16. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Always a strong move. ;)
  17. bass12

    bass12 Grace under pressure Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Sade is smooth jazz?
    MattZilla, JRA and Passinwind like this.
  18. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    One explanation is that smooth jazz isn't jazz, it's instrumental pop
  19. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Jazz changes.
    This is not Jazz. Got nothing to do with it.
    (yes, Esteban Garcia beat me to it, as may have others)
    gebass6 and Johnny Fingers like this.
  20. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    she shows up on smooth jazz radio. lots of artists have tunes that fit into the genre, however loosely, IME/IMO.

    :D look, i'm no expert and i don't attend the events (as a fan)...i just hear it --- sometimes i use that influence in some idea i'm having (a tune or an arrangement) like i would with bebop/swing/rock/funk/blues/whatever.


    :laugh: i can go with that to some extent, it's formulaic like pop, but the improvisational part is a reflection of the jazz tradition, IMO. also, there are lots of great players/musicians in the genre, generally. just sayin'.

    edit: i'm in one all-instrumental band and we're often referred to as "smooth jazz" even though we might play a single tune from that 'playlist'. so there's that.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
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