Jazz 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
446 96
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

2
495 113
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fourplay Smooth jazz, Jazz

3
266 51
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
280 57
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
333 84
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
292 69
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Dave Koz Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

7
285 67
The Rippingtons is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
The Rippingtons Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

8
204 37
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Larry Carlton Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

9
292 70
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

10
297 72
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

11
255 56
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
272 63
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
294 74
Brian Culbertson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Brian Culbertson Smooth jazz, Funk

14
437 131
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

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15
197 38
David Benoit is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Benoit Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Easy listening

16
167 28
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
228 54
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
160 29
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
200 46
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
185 42
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
180 41
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

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22
194 51
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
173 43
Chris Botti is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chris Botti Smooth jazz, Jazz

24
145 34
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
104 17
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
StefSmith added Al Jarreau Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

26
131 28
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
183 54
Marc Antoine is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Marc Antoine Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz

28
66 7
Rick Braun is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Rick Braun Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

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29
133 37
Incognito is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Incognito Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Pop music

30
119 30
Pieces of a Dream is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pieces of a Dream Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

31
130 37
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
117 30
Yellowjackets is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Yellowjackets Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

33
128 37
Keiko Matsui is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Keiko Matsui New Age music, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

34
79 13
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
John Mark added Chuck Loeb

35
44 4
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 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

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36
102 25
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
105 30
Gregg Karukas is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gregg Karukas Smooth jazz

38
82 18
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

39
103 31
Bobby Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Bobby Caldwell Blue-eyed soul, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

40
57 8
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
106 34
Candy Dulfer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Candy Dulfer Nu jazz, Smooth jazz, Funk

42
94 28
Tower of Power is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Tower of Power Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Rhythm and blues

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43
73 16
Pat Metheny Group is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
92 28
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
122 47
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion

46
79 25
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
83 28
Gato Barbieri is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gato Barbieri Smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Jazz

48
86 30
Fattburger is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fattburger Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

49
72 21
Sérgio Mendes is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Sérgio Mendes Adult contemporary music, Disco, Lounge music

50
73 22
Ronny Jordan is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Ronny Jordan Crossover jazz, Jazz-funk, Acid jazz