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? asked in Entertainment & MusicMusicJazz · 1 decade ago

Why Do Jazz Purists Hate Smooth Jazz?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I agree with Josh S's points.

    Here's my opinion.

    I am a quote, un-quote, "Jazz purist." But I do not hate Smooth Jazz. In fact, it was primarily Smooth Jazz that captured my interests for Jazz and brought me to the beauty and awesomeness of Straight-ahead-Jazz of Bebop, Blue Note, etc.

    I can honestly say though, that my tastes have now changed so much to the extent that it is now hard for me to listen to most smooth Jazz of today (2000 through 2011/present).

    It's like eating a frozen TV dinner (Smooth Jazz) - although it tastes good, once you have a taste of a Full 3-course meal - well-done steak, mashed patatos with wine on the side (Straight-ahead-Jazz) it then becomes hard to go back to the processed TV dinners (Smooth Jazz).

    But there is a time and place for everything. There are still times when I put on some Smooth Jazz artists like Gerald Albright or Norman Brown, but for the majority of the time I prefer the greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk or even the new generation of Straight-ahead-Jazz musicians like Joshua Redman, Hiromi Uehara, Esperanza Spalding & Wynton Marsalis.

    At the end of the day it is all good music.

  • 1 decade ago

    when I was gowing up every jazz musician was really good, had obviously paid his dues learning and mastering their music. there was smooth jazz already then but with a high level of musicianship (david sanborn, grover washington). It seems that there is a generation of smooth jazz where the musicians are just not that good (Kenny G started it all I guess), that's what jazz purist have a problem with. If you know about jazz, you know it is a highly improvised music, often over rather complex chord changes. In a lot of smooth jazz, while the melody and harmony might be interesting, the improv part is often over one or 2 chords, very diatonic, lacking dynamic and interesting rhythm.

    That said, smooth jazz did revive jazz in general by getting airplay again nad back on the musical map. Let's give it to Kenny G for showing record companies that money can still be made with jazz. Also, I know people who started listening to smooth jazz, liked it and went on to discover other forms of jazz and maybe more "legit" players

  • 1 decade ago

    My guess would be twofold:

    1. "jazz purists" are those that are more attracted to traditional sounds of jazz recordings (i.e. authentic, organic, vintage style instruments) and are turned off by more processed instruments typically found in smooth jazz (synthesizers, electric basses with active electronics, etc.)

    2. Smooth jazz is intended for radio/commercial use. So, it has to be more palatable to the average listener. A "jazz purist" is likely someone who's seeking a form of music that challenges them. Smooth jazz is intentionally unchallenging.

    Source(s): Just my $.02.
  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think its that we hate smooth jazz. It's more the term 'smooth jazz' than the genre of music. I'm not just a jazz musician, I play rnb and soul , blues, soca, bashment, bollywood... but when someone talks to me about jazz and says "I love Jazz. I love Kenny G". I want to smash their head in, because while the genre does have some amazing musicians and songs, its also a hotbed of crap musicianship and bland compositions...

    It also provides me and some of my peers with work, because we can play it, even if we'd rather be playing something else...

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