Smooth Jazz, And Its Sculptors


Let’s take a look into some of the artists that help shape Smooth Jazz for what it is today. You are probably already familiar with some of the instruments used by some very prolific musicians who create this genre, such as the saxophone! It is the leading instrument in style recognition for Smooth Jazz. Dave Koz, Boney James, Gerald Albright, Marion Meadows, Mike Phillips and Najee primarily play the tenor, alto and soprano saxophones. Or how about the guitar, both electric and acoustic from Peter White, Norman Brown, Chuck Loeb, Earl Klug and master guitarist, George Benson. The keyboard players, whether grand piano, electric piano, organ or synthesizer; from such masters like bob James, Deodato, Jeff Lorber  Herbie Hancock, and David Benoit chime in.  Bassists Wayman Tisdale, Nathan East, Gerald Veasley and Brian Bromberg are dynamic musicians, and has made the voice of the bass a clear leader in melodic interpretation! Some prominent flautists have garnered a niche as well, like Ken Navarro, Hubert Laws, Bobbie Humphrey and Althea Rene. Vocalists like Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Sade, Patti Austin and Angela Bofill. There are so many others who bring credibility to the genre not mentioned here. However, I must say that traditional jazz produced a broader variety of players, like vibraphonists Gary Burton, Lionel Hampton & Milt Jackson. We were lucky to have Roy Ayers slip in! Clarinet players like Eric Dolphy and Benny Goodman made a great name for themselves, and now we have Marcus Miller on bass clarinet. Drummers Harvey Mason, Billy Cobham, Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Gadd have played on many hit records and continue to astound us with their mastery over the drums; making its presence in the forefront of contemporary and Smooth Jazz.

The movers and shakers, the percussionists, the violinists, the trumpeters, the brass players are all expressing themselves through Smooth Jazz. We welcome their artistry, their devotion and their ability to mesmerize us all, when they pick up their instrument and sculpt jazz out of it!

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