bands/musicians The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time  

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13.4k votes 2.3k voters 281.3k views 205 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
373 73
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
430 92
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fourplay Smooth jazz, Jazz

3
233 40
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
241 45
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
305 70
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
190 31
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Larry Carlton Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

7
258 55
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
236 50
Peter White is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Peter White Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Alternative rock

9
260 60
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

10
257 59
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
268 64
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Dave Koz Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

12
184 33
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
424 128
Paul Hardcastle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Paul Hardcastle Synthpop, New Wave, Electro

14
247 58
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norman Brown Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

15
273 69
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
145 23
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
216 51
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

18
151 27
Jeff Lorber is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Jeff Lorber Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

19
187 43
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
178 40
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
169 38
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
175 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
135 30
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
158 42
Chris Botti is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chris Botti Smooth jazz, Jazz

25
178 53
Marc Antoine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Marc Antoine Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz

26
120 25
Michael Franks is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Michael Franks Smooth jazz

27
86 13
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
StefSmith added Al Jarreau Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

28
129 32
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
109 25
Yellowjackets is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Yellowjackets Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

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30
123 34
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
123 35
Hiroshima is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Hiroshima Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

32
69 10
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
John Mark added Chuck Loeb

33
108 28
Pieces of a Dream is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pieces of a Dream Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

34
52 6
Rick Braun is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Rick Braun Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

35
101 28
Gregg Karukas is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gregg Karukas Smooth jazz

36
90 22
Chuck Mangione is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chuck Mangione Smooth jazz, Jazz

37
100 29
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
21 1
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Craig Rimby added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

39
89 25
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
46 6
Richard Elliot is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Richard Elliot

41
114 43
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion

42
70 16
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

43
86 27
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chick Corea Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

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44
70 17
Sérgio Mendes is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Sérgio Mendes Adult contemporary music, Disco, Lounge music

45
65 14
Pat Metheny Group is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
74 20
Walter Beasley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Walter Beasley Smooth jazz

47
93 32
Candy Dulfer is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Candy Dulfer Nu jazz, Smooth jazz, Funk

48
65 17
Ronny Jordan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Ronny Jordan Crossover jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz

49
75 24
Gato Barbieri is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gato Barbieri Smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Jazz

50
164 86
Kenny G is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Kenny G Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz