The Incredible Rise of Smooth Jazz in the 1990s

In the third video of her informative mini-series about American Jazz, video producer Estelle Caswell of the Vox series “Earworm” traces the history of smooth jazz. Caswell digs into its origins, the pioneering musicians who mashed together pop music with jazz, how this particular genre got its name, its skyrocketing popularity in the 1990s and lots of Kenny G. Additionally, Caswell also notes that the spectacular fall of smooth jazz wasn’t all due to faulty Nielsen listener measurement tools, as some believe, but a combination of the economic environment and changing tastes.

smooth jazz radio was music for ordinary everyday people just trying to get through their day stress-free. It certainly never cared about critics during its solid 20-year run and unlike straight-ahead jazz it didn’t care so much about challenging the listener either…but dig deep into smooth jazz is history and you’ll find some really exciting music there

Caswell also put together an incredible playlists of smooth jazz songs on Spotify.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.