The Best Smooth Jazz Music to Playlists

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best smooth jazz music to listen to? Look no further than our top picks for the best smooth jazz albums and playlists. From classics to modern hits, we’ve got you covered.

What is Smooth Jazz?

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that is characterized by a relaxed, easygoing sound. It often features a laid-back groove and Melvin Butler emotional vocals. Smooth jazz can be traced back to the 1950s, when it was first developed as a way to combine the sounds of rhythm and blues with the more melodic elements of jazz. The genre gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks in part to the rise of radio stations that specialized in playing smooth jazz. In recent years, smooth jazz has experienced something of a resurgence, with new artists and groups finding success with this style of music.

The Best Smooth Jazz Songs

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that is characterized by a relaxed, easygoing feel. It often has a groove-oriented rhythm and a mellow mood. Many smooth jazz songs have a laid-back, jazzy feel to them. This type of music is often used as background music or for relaxation.

“Mornin'” – Al Jarreau

“Mornin'” is a song by American singer-songwriter Al Jarreau. It was released as the lead single from his sixth studio album, Breakin’ Away (1981). The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

“Maputo” – Bob James

“Maputo” is a smooth jazz standard composed by jazz keyboardist Bob James. The song was first recorded by James on his 1974 album, One, and later released as a single. It has been covered by numerous artists, includingGrover Washington Jr., David Sanborn, Paul Desmond, and Hiroshima. The tune has been described as “one of the most memorable and recognizable hooks in contemporary instrumental music.”

“So What” – Miles Davis

Miles Davis’ “So What” is one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces of smooth jazz ever recorded. The song first appeared on Miles Davis’ 1959 LP Kind of Blue, and has since been covered countless times by artists across all genres.

The Best Smooth Jazz Albums

Smooth jazz is a subgenre of jazz that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. It is characterized by a relaxed, mellow sound and is often used as background music. While some purists may not consider smooth jazz to be true jazz, there is no denying its popularity. Here are some of the best smooth jazz albums to add to your collection.

The Best of Smooth Jazz

There are many great Smooth Jazz albums out there, but these 10 are our favorites. We’ve included a mix of well-known artists and some up-and-comers, so there’s something for everyone.

1. The Best of Smooth Jazz: The Groovemasters – This compilation album features some of the best Smooth Jazz artists around, including Dave Koz, Bob James, and Boney James. If you’re looking for a collection of classic Smooth Jazz tunes, this is the album for you.

2. The Best of Contemporary Jazz: The Cool Sounds of Today – This album showcases some of the best Contemporary Jazz artists working today, including John Scofield, Joe Lovano, and Kurt Elling. If you’re looking for something a little more modern, this is the album for you.

3. The Best of Latin Jazz: The Exciting Rhythms of the Latin World – This album features some of the best Latin Jazz artists from around the world, including Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, and Bebo Valdes. If you’re looking for an album that will get your feet moving, this is the one for you.

4. The Best of Soulful Jazz: The Songs that Touch Your Heart – This album features some of the best Soulful Jazz singers around, including Michael Buble, Norah Jones, and Diana Krall. If you’re looking for an album that will make you feel good inside, this is the one for you.

5. The Best of Relaxing Jazz: The Music to Unwind To – This album features some of the best Relaxing Jazz tracks around, including George Benson’s “Breezin’,” Kenny G’s “Songbird,” and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” If you’re looking for an album to help you relax after a long day, this is the one for you.

The Greatest Smooth Jazz Hits

Now that you know a little bit more about smooth jazz, it’s time to dive into some of the best albums the genre has to offer. The following are 10 of the finest smooth jazz albums ever made.

1. The Best of Grover Washington, Jr.
2. Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits
3. The Best of Kenny G
4. Smooth Jazz All Stars – The Hits
5. The Very Best of Spyro Gyra
6. Jazz for a Rainy Afternoon
7. The smooth Jazz Cafe Vol. 1
8. McCoy Tyner’s Greatest Hits
9. The Definitive Miles Davis
10. Softly As I Leave You

Smooth Jazz Essentials

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that arose in the 1980s in the United States. It is a blend of jazz, R&B, and pop music. Smooth jazz guitarists such as George Benson, Kenny G, and Lee Ritenour achieved mainstream success in the 1980s and 1990s. The genre has its roots in earlier jazz fusion and Latin jazz.

The term “smooth jazz” was first used in print in 1988 by Billboard magazine writer/producer Dan Forte to describe Certain Sounds: Volume 1, an album by the English group The Style Council. This album was one of the first to be classified as “smooth jazz” by Billboard. The following year, Forte wrote an article about the genre for Billboard which was titled “Smooth Jazz: The New Sound of America’s 21st Century City”.

In 2010, smooth jazz radio station The Oasis Digital Network launched Global Radio, the first 24/7 online smooth jazz radio station.

Smooth Jazz albums are often compilations of previously released tracks by various artists, or they may be albums by a single artist or small group. Here is a list of some of the best Smooth Jazz albums available:

-The Very Best of Smooth Jazz (2006) – Various Artists
-The Best of Smooth Jazz (2008) – Various Artists
-The Premium Collection: Smooth Jazz (2009) – Various Artists
-Smooth Jazz: Greatest Hits (2009) – Various Artists
-Essential smooth Jazz (2009) – Various Artists
– pure… smooth Jazz (2011) – Various Artists

The Best Smooth Jazz Artists

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that is characterized by a relaxed and mellow sound. It often features a laid-back groove and a smooth, flowing feel. Many smooth jazz artists have been influenced by other genres such as funk, R&B, and pop.

George Benson

George Benson is a legendary figure in smooth jazz. He got his start in the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s, but he really came into his own in the 1970s with a series of ground-breaking albums that fused jazz, funk, soul, and pop. He’s continued to be a hugely popular artist over the past four decades, winning 10 Grammy Awards and selling millions of records. If you’re looking for some of the best smooth jazz music around, you can’t go wrong with George Benson.


Sade is a British singer, songwriter, and actress. She first gained widespread attention as the lead singer of the band Sade, which she formed in 1984. The group released its debut album, Diamond Life, in 1984, followed by a string of successful albums and singles throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Sade’s music is characterized by its smooth, sensual sound and her husky voice. In addition to her work with Sade, she has also released several solo albums, including Love Deluxe (1992), Lovers Rock (2000), and Soldier of Love (2010).

Dave Koz

Dave Koz is one of the most popular names in smooth jazz. A virtuoso saxophonist, he has released 20 albums over the course of his career, including his latest, Summer Horns II. He has also been a radio host, music producer, and author. In addition to his solo work, Koz was a member of the group Brasil ’66, which had several hits in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Best Smooth Jazz Radio Stations

Smooth Jazz is a style of music that was first developed in the 1980s. It combines elements of jazz, R&B, and pop music. Smooth Jazz is typically characterized by a laid-back, relaxed feeling. The best Smooth Jazz radio stations will help you relax and unwind after a long day.

KIFM 98.1

KIFM 98.1 is a smooth Jazz radio station in San Diego, California. The station’s transmitter is located on Mount Soledad in La Jolla.

KIFM is one of two HD Radio stations in San Diego that simulcast on an FM translator. KIFM’s HD2 subchannel airs a Japanese radio format from Radio Nippon.

WBGO 88.3

WBGO 88.3 is a public radio station in Newark, New Jersey that broadcasts a smooth jazz format. The station is owned by Newark Public Radio, Inc. and is a member of National Public Radio.

WBGO’s smooth jazz format began in 1985. The station’s current lineup includes shows hosted by Russ Davis, Gary Walker, and Doug Doyle. WBGO 88.3 also airs syndicated shows from the likes of George Benson, Al Jarreau, and David Sanborn.

WNUA 95.5

WNUA 95.5 is smooth jazz radio broadcasting from Chicago, Illinois. It first went on the air in 1987 under the call letters WNUA, and has been playing smooth jazz ever since. The station’s playlist includes music from artists like Dave Koz, Boney James, and Kenny G.

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