When did smooth jazz start?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Kavorka, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Kavorka

    Kavorka Chief Bottle Washer Thread Starter

    North America
    I was always under the impression that first smooth jazz recordings started happening in the late 1970's and into 1980s and onward.

    The other day while crate digging I bumped into Bill Evans and Eddie Gomes duet "Intuition", recorded in 1974. Got super excited (I adore Bill Evans), bought the LP and could not wait to get home and listen to it. Much to my disappointed, it sounded like smooth jazz. So that discovery made me rethink the timelines for smooth jazz.

    Are there any smooth jazz records earlier than 1974?
  2. zphage

    zphage Beatard

    Bucks County, PA
    I always kinda looked at Dave Burbeck as the beginning.
  3. Davido

    Davido "People don't live or die, people just float..."

    Austin, Texas
    Miles Davis' debut in 49 (?) was pretty damn smooth.
  4. sixtiesstereo

    sixtiesstereo Forum Resident

    I always think of it as becoming popular in the late fifties with Henry Mancini's
    two "Peter Gunn" albums. Really true cool jazz with some of the best West Coast
    musicians at the time. Plus, the first one won album of the year in 1959, I'm
    guessing because true cool jazz fans all bought it.
  5. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Austin, TX
    The Joe Sample album Fancy Dance might be the earliest full album in the sub-genre on RYM.
    Greenalishi likes this.
  6. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    With George Benson and Chuck Mangione.
  7. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    Back in the 1920s with Paul Whiteman's (ironic name?) "bleaching" of the genre.
  8. florandia

    florandia Forum Resident

    It probably started when George Benson began thinking he was a vocalist who occasionally played guitar!
  9. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Detroit Mi USA
    Creed Taylor/CTI/A&M by the late sixties
  10. JoeF.

    JoeF. Forum Resident

    New Jersey, USA
    It probably started around the same time guys were starting to put their "bachelor pads" together with "hi-fi" set ups and they needed something "smooth" to have on in the background to help them seduce chicks.

    Seriously, I think it just started when Take Five showed their was a market for catchy, easy going jazz. Maybe Kind of Blue also had an impact. It's not smooth jazz, but it was the gateway drug into jazz for many.
  11. snowman872

    snowman872 Forum Resident

    Wilcox, AZ
    Definitely pioneers, but Grover Washington Jr. was on the scene as well.
  12. maui jim

    maui jim Forum Resident

    74 sounds about right as a style with Breezin and Winelight as the leading albums
    Instant Dharma, ispace and mooseman like this.
  13. dmiller458

    dmiller458 Forum Resident

    Midland, Michigan
    Chet Baker?
    Mickey2 likes this.
  14. mooseman

    mooseman Forum Resident

    George Benson - Breezin
    Grover Washington Jr - Mister Magic
    The Crusaders - Street Life
    For me the true beginnings were in the mid 70's with these titles.
  15. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    It's been a few years since I've heard that album but the only thing smooth I remember about it was the phased Rhodes sound Evans used on some songs.
    frightwigwam likes this.
  16. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    New Braunfels, TX
    So I'm going to assume that the definition of "smooth jazz" are those musicians who didn't engage in meandering, self indulgent solos that went on for forever that made the listener forget the original melody the soloist was riffing on.

    Smooth jazz=recognizable melody throughout the piece with some light, short and sweet riffing, noodling and doodling with their instruments of choice.
  17. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk If you fly a flag of hate you ain't no kin to me

    This era of jazz was my introduction to jazz so I didn't know **** from shinola about "smooth" jazz. Frankly my appreciation of John Klemmer, Grover Washington Jr., George Benson, Hubert Laws, Earl Klugh, The Crusaders and others albums from this period has not lessoned. It wasn't until the late 70's that I began to discover the jazz of the late 50's to late 60's by Miles, Coltrane et. al. but it never took away my like for these albums that originally introduced me to the genre.
  18. Shrdlu

    Shrdlu Well-Known Member

    Too soon.
  19. Panama Hotel

    Panama Hotel Forum Resident

    lol, that's as good a demarcation line as any I can think of.
    Joti Cover and florandia like this.
  20. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Boston MA
    Also the two Section albums a bit earlier.
    mooseman likes this.
  21. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    IMO the Section was not that smooth, got close to Mahavishnu territory at times.

    Like some earlier posters, I'd put the beginning at the 60's Wes Montgomery albums produced by Creed Taylor.
    Comet01 likes this.
  22. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
  23. Duophonic

    Duophonic number_9 number_9

    I love smooth jazz. What an amazing genre, in every sense of the word. Playing my George Benson Collection right about now.
  24. Svetonio

    Svetonio Forum Resident

  25. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Detroit Mi USA
    One thing I have noticed is that most "smooth jazz" is led by, or has a saxophone prominently soloing.
    Larry C. McGinnis III likes this.

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