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Smooth jazz

  • Broadcast in Music
The Hip Show

The Hip Show


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Smooth Jazz takes the lightest, least challenging forms of Fusion jazz and injects them with the sultry throb of '70s Quiet Storm, resulting in a candy-sweet, often seductive and always soothing instrumental sound. It reduces the improvisation of jazz to the slightest variation of modal figures over largely unchanging, one-chord instrumental vamps, making the music easy to follow and allowing it to fade into the background. Smooth Jazz often features a light, Funk-derived backbeat, over which a crooning horn delivers sinuous, syrupy melodies while silken electric bass, guitar, and keyboards round out the sound. Sometimes, as in the work of crowd-pleasing sax player David Sanborn, the gentlest Latin-inflected rhythms will appear in the form of a conga player. Other artists, such as Kenny G, will often eschew the backbeat altogether in favor of soaring, sentimental ballads.