music The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time  

13.0k votes 2.2k voters 275.2k views 204 items Embed
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
409 86
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fourplay Smooth jazz, Jazz

The Greatest Jazz Guitarists of All Time The Best Frontmen in Rock

2
358 71
Bob James is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Bob James Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

3
225 38
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Lee Ritenour Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

4
232 42
Spyro Gyra is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Spyro Gyra Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
187 29
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Larry Carlton Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

6
302 69
Earl Klugh is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Earl Klugh Crossover jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

7
249 53
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
264 61
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Dave Koz Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

9
251 56
The Rippingtons is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
The Rippingtons Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

10
230 48
Peter White is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Peter White Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Alternative rock

11
250 56
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

12
179 31
David Benoit is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Benoit Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Easy listening

13
244 56
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norman Brown Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

14
270 67
Brian Culbertson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Brian Culbertson Smooth jazz, Funk

15
420 127
Paul Hardcastle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Paul Hardcastle Synthpop, New Wave, Electro

21 Musicians Who Are (Supposedly) in the Illuminati The 36 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

16
141 22
Boney James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
slaft added Boney James

17
149 26
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
211 51
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
177 40
Kirk Whalum is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Kirk Whalum Christian music, Pop music, Smooth jazz

20
183 43
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

21
164 37
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
172 46
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
133 29
Euge Groove is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Euge Groove Smooth jazz

24
177 51
Marc Antoine is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Marc Antoine Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz

25
156 41
Chris Botti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chris Botti Smooth jazz, Jazz

26
84 12
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
StefSmith added Al Jarreau Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

27
116 25
Michael Franks is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Michael Franks Smooth jazz

28
127 31
Incognito is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Incognito Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Pop music

29
69 9
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
John Mark added Chuck Loeb

The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders The Best Reasons to Have Kids

30
50 5
Rick Braun is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Rick Braun Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

31
106 25
Yellowjackets is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Yellowjackets Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

32
121 34
Keiko Matsui is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Keiko Matsui New Age music, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

33
120 35
Hiroshima is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Hiroshima Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

34
106 28
Pieces of a Dream is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pieces of a Dream Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

35
88 21
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
98 27
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
98 28
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
87 24
Tower of Power is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Tower of Power Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Rhythm and blues

39
113 43
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion

40
68 16
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

41
69 17
Sérgio Mendes is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Sérgio Mendes Adult contemporary music, Disco, Lounge music

42
62 13
Pat Metheny Group is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
John Mark added Pat Metheny Group Crossover jazz, World music, Jazz fusion

43
44 6
Richard Elliot is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Richard Elliot

15 Jamming Jazz Movies The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

44
83 27
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
88 31
Candy Dulfer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Candy Dulfer Nu jazz, Smooth jazz, Funk

46
64 16
Ronny Jordan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Ronny Jordan Crossover jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

47
70 20
Walter Beasley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Walter Beasley Smooth jazz

48
163 84
Kenny G is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Kenny G Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz

49
94 38
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
72 24
Gato Barbieri is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gato Barbieri Smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Jazz