Jazz The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time  

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17k votes 3.2k voters 319.2k views 194 items
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Combining elements of funk, R&B, 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
539 125
Bob James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

2
551 134
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz

3
320 71
Lee Ritenour is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Jazz-funk, Pop music, Sophisti-pop

4
342 80
Spyro Gyra is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
349 84
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

6
379 97
Earl Klugh is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

7
350 89
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

8
327 82
The Rippingtons is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

9
300 72
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

10
326 85
Brian Culbertson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Funk

11
316 81
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

12
288 70
Peter White is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Alternative rock

13
265 63
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Disco, Rock music, Black metal

14
239 53
Larry Carlton is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

15
218 46
David Benoit is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Easy listening

16
201 39
Boney James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
slaft added

17
453 146
Paul Hardcastle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Synthpop, New Wave, Electro

18
85 7
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Craig Rimby added Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

19
223 56
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

20
176 36
Jeff Lorber is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

21
224 58
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

22
201 49
Acoustic Alchemy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
New Age music, Smooth jazz, Instrumental

23
202 50
Kirk Whalum is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Christian music, Pop music, Smooth jazz

24
131 21
Al Jarreau is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
StefSmith added Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

25
188 51
Chris Botti is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Smooth jazz, Jazz