In the late 1970s and early 1980s, jazz fusion gradually turned into a lighter commercial form called pop fusion or "smooth jazz" (see paragraph below). Although pop fusion and smooth jazz were commercially successful and garnered significant radio airplay, this lighter form of fusion moved away from the style's original innovations. But into the 1990s and 2000s, some fusion bands and performers such as Tribal Tech have continued to develop and innovate within the genre.
Smooth jazz solos were actually very stylized. For instance, the saxophone improvisations by Kenny G were considered "light fusion." His music became popular. Musicians gave this music the name "fuzak" (cf. muzak) because it was a soft, pleasant fusion of jazz and rock. By the late 1990s smooth jazz became very popular and was receiving a lot of radio exposure. Some of the most famous saxophonists of this style were Grover Washington, Jr., Kenny G and Najee and many imitators. Kenny G’s music and smooth jazz in general defined a large segment of jazz during the 1980s and 1990s. Not only is smooth jazz played on the radio and in jazz clubs, it is also played in airports, banks, offices, auditoriums and arenas (Gridley).