music The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time  

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Combining elements of funk, R&B, funk, rock, pop, and yes, jazz - smooth jazz was wildly popular as a commercial subgenre of jazz. Smooth jazz artists also could be found adult contemporary radio and is called smooth because of its downtempo melody that carries the song. First emerging in the 1960s, smooth jazz works well as background music and wasn't necessarily as complex or innovative as traditional jazz music. Nevertheless, top jazz artists rose to prominence in the late 1980s before peaking in the 1990s and early 2000s. Though smooth, contemporary jazz isn't as big as it once was, it's impact can't be disputed and many famous jazz artists are considered to be some of the best musicians of modern time. 

So, who are the best smooth jazz artists of all time? Any list of smooth jazz musicians has to include names like Anita Baker, Dave Koz, Chris Botti, Al Jarreau and Norah Jones. These smooth jazz artists are among the most well known names in the genre and with good reason. Their smooth songs, accomplishments, and awards speak for themselves. It's likely when you think of contemporary jazz and smooth jazz, these are the top artists that come to mind.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best smooth jazz artists. If you're familiar with smooth jazz, please feel free to vote on this list of smooth jazz artists. If you notice new artists that are missing from this list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best smooth jazz bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest smooth jazz musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular smooth jazz bands that you might've heard of. 
list ordered by

1
+ - 333 60
Bob James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Bob James Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

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2
+ - 382 75
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fourplay Smooth jazz, Jazz

3
+ - 176 25
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Larry Carlton Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

4
+ - 209 36
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Lee Ritenour Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

5
+ - 288 64
Earl Klugh is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Earl Klugh Crossover jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

6
+ - 220 41
Spyro Gyra is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Spyro Gyra Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

7
+ - 239 48
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

8
+ - 243 52
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

9
+ - 257 58
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Dave Koz Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

10
+ - 240 52
The Rippingtons is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
The Rippingtons Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

11
+ - 218 45
Peter White is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Peter White Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Alternative rock

12
+ - 233 51
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norman Brown Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

13
+ - 170 29
David Benoit is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Benoit Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Easy listening

14
+ - 413 124
Paul Hardcastle is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Paul Hardcastle Synthpop, New Wave, Electro

15
+ - 261 64
Brian Culbertson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Brian Culbertson Smooth jazz, Funk

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16
+ - 134 19
Boney James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

17
+ - 141 24
Jeff Lorber is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Jeff Lorber Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

18
+ - 198 47
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

19
+ - 178 40
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

20
+ - 168 37
Kirk Whalum is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Kirk Whalum Christian music, Pop music, Smooth jazz

21
+ - 157 34
Acoustic Alchemy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Acoustic Alchemy New Age music, Smooth jazz, Instrumental

22
+ - 165 43
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Miles Davis Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

23
+ - 175 49
Marc Antoine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Marc Antoine Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz

24
+ - 129 27
Euge Groove is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Euge Groove Smooth jazz

25
+ - 75 9
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Al Jarreau Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

26
+ - 122 27
Incognito is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Incognito Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Pop music

27
+ - 148 40
Chris Botti is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chris Botti Smooth jazz, Jazz

28
+ - 108 23
Michael Franks is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Michael Franks Smooth jazz

29
+ - 119 31
Hiroshima is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Hiroshima Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

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30
+ - 118 31
Keiko Matsui is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Keiko Matsui New Age music, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

31
+ - 59 7
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

32
+ - 103 24
Pieces of a Dream is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pieces of a Dream Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

33
+ - 102 24
Yellowjackets is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Yellowjackets Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

34
+ - 43 4
Rick Braun is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Rick Braun Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

35
+ - 85 19
Chuck Mangione is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chuck Mangione Smooth jazz, Jazz

36
+ - 95 25
Gregg Karukas is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gregg Karukas Smooth jazz

37
+ - 95 26
Bobby Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Bobby Caldwell Blue-eyed soul, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

38
+ - 40 4
Richard Elliot is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

39
+ - 84 21
Tower of Power is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Tower of Power Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Rhythm and blues

40
+ - 111 40
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion

41
+ - 64 13
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

42
+ - 86 28
Candy Dulfer is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Candy Dulfer Nu jazz, Smooth jazz, Funk

43
+ - 62 13
Ronny Jordan is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Ronny Jordan Crossover jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

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44
+ - 79 24
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chick Corea Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

45
+ - 68 17
Walter Beasley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Walter Beasley Smooth jazz

46
+ - 65 16
Sérgio Mendes is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Sérgio Mendes Adult contemporary music, Disco, Lounge music

47
+ - 158 77
Kenny G is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Kenny G Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz

48
+ - 56 11
Pat Metheny Group is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pat Metheny Group Crossover jazz, World music, Jazz fusion

49
+ - 91 35
Luther Vandross is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Luther Vandross Hip hop music, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary R&B

50
+ - 74 25
Fattburger is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fattburger Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion