Prestige records had a sublabel called Moodsville, where some great jazz players played a laid back set. I have several of those: Coleman Hawkins (2) and Red Garland. Easy listening maybe, but not a guilty pleasure.In 1957 RCA released a dozen "For Hi-FI Living" easy listening albums in the U.S. They sold for $1.98 each, half the price of a standard L.P., and featured mostly European light music ensembles (England seemed to be favored). All albums were monophonic releases, although I suspect most if not all were recorded in stereo-- however consumer stereo was yet to be introduced in the U.S. Some years ago by haunting thrift stores and resale shops I managed to collect all twelve albums. I must say overall they are a dreary listening experience-- torpid playing and tempi, and heavy on somnolent strings. In other words, "background music" in the most literal sense.
My long deceased parents' album and why I still value the series.