Jazz The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time  

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16k votes 3.1k voters 310.2k views 194 items

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. 

1
510 111
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
531 127
Fourplay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fourplay Smooth jazz, Jazz

3
320 67
Spyro Gyra is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Spyro Gyra Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

4
298 60
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
365 92
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
327 80
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

7
333 84
Sade Adu is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time

8
230 45
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
308 76
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
307 77
Dave Koz is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Dave Koz Adult contemporary music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

11
284 68
Norman Brown is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norman Brown Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

12
309 78
Brian Culbertson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Brian Culbertson Smooth jazz, Funk

13
272 64
Peter White is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Peter White Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Alternative rock

14
445 137
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
249 59
Earth, Wind & Fire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Earth, Wind & Fire Disco, Rock music, Black metal

16
209 43
David Benoit is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
David Benoit Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Easy listening

17
183 34
Boney James is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
slaft added Boney James

18
212 51
Anita Baker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Anita Baker Adult contemporary music, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

19
196 45
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
166 32
Jeff Lorber is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Jeff Lorber Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

21
212 54
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Miles Davis Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

22
190 46
Acoustic Alchemy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Acoustic Alchemy New Age music, Smooth jazz, Instrumental

23
67 6
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
180 47
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
119 20
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
151 36
Euge Groove is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Euge Groove Smooth jazz

27
139 32
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
188 57
Marc Antoine is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Marc Antoine Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz

29
129 31
Pieces of a Dream is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Pieces of a Dream Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

30
69 8
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
141 38
Incognito is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Incognito Nu jazz, Jazz-funk, Pop music

32
117 26
Chuck Mangione is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Chuck Mangione Smooth jazz, Jazz

33
88 14
Chuck Loeb is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
John Mark added Chuck Loeb

34
122 31
Yellowjackets is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Yellowjackets Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

35
139 41
Hiroshima is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Hiroshima Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion, Jazz

36
132 38
Keiko Matsui is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Keiko Matsui New Age music, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

37
90 19
Wes Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Wes Montgomery Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Smooth jazz

38
85 18
Pat Metheny Group is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
110 33
Gregg Karukas is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gregg Karukas Smooth jazz

40
108 33
Bobby Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Bobby Caldwell Blue-eyed soul, Quiet storm, Smooth jazz

41
100 30
Tower of Power is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Tower of Power Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Rhythm and blues

42
111 37
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
99 30
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

44
127 49
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion

45
62 11
Richard Elliot is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
alice-peterson added Richard Elliot

46
90 30
Gato Barbieri is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Gato Barbieri Smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Jazz

47
90 30
Fattburger is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Fattburger Jazz-funk, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

48
78 23
Sérgio Mendes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Sérgio Mendes Adult contemporary music, Disco, Lounge music

49
84 27
Walter Beasley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Smooth Jazz Bands and Artists of All Time
Walter Beasley Smooth jazz

50
76 23
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