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The Genres: Brian Soergel on Smooth Jazz

Grover Washington Jr.
Grover Washington Jr. (photo: Paul S. Wilson)

Blame Miles Davis.

The jazz great couldn’t have peered into a crystal ball and seen that his hard-edged fusion of jazz and rock, which bubbled up with Bitches Brew 30 years ago, would lead to Peter White, Boney James and Rick Braun. But before he died in 1991, Davis probably had heard those players, and others like them, as these purveyors of instrumental pop took jazz sketches, some rock and gobs of soul to craft a fusion of their own: smooth jazz.

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