I have a weakness for jazzy, somewhat kitschy 50s pop guitar records (Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Johnny Smith, etc.) I’m not very familiar with music history, but from browsing old record bins, it seems like between the Bebop craze and the British Invasion, there developed in the US a certain idiom of easy-listening guitar music, often closer to western swing and Django Reinhardt than the blues. Since a lot of it frankly sounds more like elevator music than serious jazz, I can see why it has faded into obscurity. Nonetheless, I’m curious and would like to dive deeper. Does this style of music have a name? Am I missing any of its big names? I realize this is kind of a fluffy facette of jazz, a bit like Chet Baker’s crooner albums or smooth jazz. I guess I’m intrigued because it seems to have had an impact in 50s-60s commercial music, but it’s not the kind of thing you would find in a typical jazz history.

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