Throughout its history, jazz has first and foremost been a music of explosive, infectious rhythms. It was the syncopated, "hot" rhythms of the first New Orleans jazz bands that heralded a revolutionary new style, not any new chords or innovative instrumentation. While swinging rhythm is a defining characteristic of jazz, there has always been a flip side to the music's insistent pulse: romantic, soul-searching balladry, presented at slow tempos. The focus in this style is more about creating a mood and telling a story than provoking a visceral physical response in the listener (though there are certainly countless instances of slow jazz ballads that swing like mad -- Oscar Peterson trio, anyone?)
Golden-toned tenor saxophonists like Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster were early masters of the style, and every great jazz musician since them has incorporated ballads in to their repertoire. The relaxed, soulful, and romantic sound of a well-delivered jazz ballad has long been a hallmark of smoky jazz clubs, elegant dinner parties, and makeout sessions. Now, listeners wanting to create that mood need look no further than AccuJazz.com's "Mellow Jazz" channel.
Despite its seemingly narrow focus, the "Mellow Jazz" playlist is far from monotonous. Jazz musicians are never lacking in inventiveness, and their treatment of slower tempos is no exception. There's the sensous bossa nova of Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, the ornate pianism of Erroll Garner and Ahmad Jamal, big band ballads by Basie and Ellington, and romantic vocals from Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dianne Reeves and many more.
"Mellow Jazz" brings the total AccuJazz channel tally to 46, including such popular channels as "Piano Jazz," "Decade: 50s," "Straight Ahead," and "Jazz Fusion." As with all AccuJazz channels, listeners can customize their experience by pausing, skipping songs, and "deselecting" artists they would rather not hear.