Reviled, Dismissed and generally thought of as Uncool (but not to be confused with Smooth Jazz)

There have always been attempts of crossing the bridge between Jazz and popular music: In the fifties Charlie Parker pulled himself together and produced beautiful melodies together with a large orchestra, in the sixties Stan Getz crossed over with Joao Gilberto and popularised Bossa Nova, the seventies saw the advent of Fusion with Weather Report and Mezzoforte, while soul had people like George Benson, so there was never any novelty to the principle of using the signs, posturing and some elements of Jazz like emphasis on percussion and instrumental solos to produce so called "pop for intellectuals".

Probably the earliest successful representatives of the genre were Danny White and Mark Reilly's Blue Rondo a la Turk (the name a hommage to Dave Brubeck), who had moderate success in the UK with titles like "Me and Mr. Sanchez". Reilly and White founded Matt Bianco with Basia, and now things started to take off. Whose side are you on went multiple platin and other artists started to bubble up. Sade, Working Week, Swing out Sister, the 180 degrees changed Modmeister Paul Weller with his critically acclaimed but unpopular project The Style Council were probably the most noticable (who remembers Viktor Lazlo, Vaia con Dios or Fritz Brause?).

Floating around the same principle but more regarded as Jazzfunk (which probably had an even worse reputation than Jazzpop for being listened to by white middle class juveniles with white socks from Essex. The juveniles. not the socks) were bands like Shakatak, Level 42 and even pre-Limahl Kajagoogoo.

Did it last?

Of course not. The so called "New Jazz" wave vanished by 1986, leaving a trail of cancelled record-contracts. Acid Jazz took over (same thing really) and Matt Bianco, Swing out Sister and Sade are still around and selling an astounding amount of records (just not in the US or the UK) and from time to time a little gem is still being played on AOR stations, but that's it.

Shame really.

Recommended Listening:

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