Is "Smooth Jazz" Jazz? Why or Why Not?

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  1. 6 String Veteran profile image59
    6 String Veteranposted 7 years ago

    Top-billing Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once went on a tirade--publically--about how Kenny G., a 'Smooth Jazz' artist, was not an authentic Jazz musician, regardless of his fame.

    Many people supported Metheny's stance while many others were embarrassed that Metheny voiced his unfavorable sentiments with such prolonged zeal.

    Regardless of Metheny's actions, this debate--what is and what is not Jazz--has been rocking the Jazz world before Miles Davis' highly experimental Fusion period beginning in the late 1960s.

    It is the point of this thread to examine some or all of the elements that define Jazz music in an attempt to provide solid solution to this now decades-old dilemma: is Smooth Jazz authentic Jazz music?

    Musicologists, critics, players/instructors (of course), and listeners--not necessarily in that order--are all encouraged to chime in!


    1. May PL profile image68
      May PLposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Sure, I listen to alot of Jazz, day in day out. Smooth Jazz included.  If I am correct, Smooth Jazz is a modern kind of jazz which blends in elements of rhythm and blues, originated sometime in 1970s? Jazz music has a spontaneity and vitality to it, which Smooth Jazz has. Perhaps Smooth Jazz is not as swinging as the original Jazz but still, improvisation of the music plays a big role in both these genres.

      1. 6 String Veteran profile image59
        6 String Veteranposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Your insight is appreciated. After weighing this over the years I have to say I see both 'creatures' for what they are and appreciate each one. I value traditional Jazz more, since of the two it's the source, but a good Smooth Jazz tune simply will not be found on a 'straight ahead' station.

        1. May PL profile image68
          May PLposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          You know, I am with you too on the traditional Jazz bit. Don't mind Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins, throw Ella into the mix and I am in pardise.

          1. 6 String Veteran profile image59
            6 String Veteranposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            I tend to time travel when it comes to Jazz. I'll go to the 30s for Benny Goodman with Charlie Christian, to the 40s for 'Bird', to the 50s for Miles and co., Coltrane, and Monk, etc.

            Nowadays the 'Man' for me is Steve Coleman (with or without The 5 Elements). He is the first saxophonist I've heard who really is doing something new (and musical LOL) rather than re-present refried Coltrane licks to the Jazz world.


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