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bands/musicians The Best Big Bands of All Time  

3.7k votes 774 voters 80k views 81 items Follow Embed

At the onset of the Roaring '20s and even during the Great Depression, the best big bands had the ability to get people to relax, dance and have a good time even when the world around them was crumbling. Big bands, were exactly that. Featuring a number of horns, woodwinds and brass players, that often times had anywhere from 12 to 25 members playing. The best big band artists are generally soloists, who had their time in the sun, and the bandleaders themselves. These are the musicians closely associated with big bands and the best big band artists are widely regarded and praised nearly a century after their initial run of success.

So, who are the best big bands? Well, for starters, any list of big band artists has to include the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. These musicians and bandleaders were the biggest rock stars of their time. With their suave fashion and music being played on the radio for the first time, these big bands were the first to achieve success and notoriety on a wider scale.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best big bands. If you notice a big band should be on this list and isn't, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best big band bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest big band musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular big band bands that you might've heard of. (81 items)
list ordered by

1
+ - 263 64
Dean Martin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Dean Martin Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

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2
+ - 215 49
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frank Sinatra Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

3
+ - 187 41
Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Louis Armstrong Swing music, Traditional pop music, Jazz

4
+ - 167 46
Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Duke Ellington Orchestral jazz, Swing music, Big band

5
+ - 185 56
Glenn Miller Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glenn Miller Orchestra Big band, Jazz

6
+ - 130 40
Benny Goodman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Benny Goodman Swing music, Big band, Jazz

7
+ - 132 42
Count Basie Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

8
+ - 93 31
Glenn Miller is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glenn Miller Swing music, Big band, Jazz

9
+ - 57 11
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Count Basie Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

10
+ - 87 34
Tommy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Tommy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Jazz

11
+ - 69 27
Artie Shaw is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Artie Shaw Swing music, Big band

12
+ - 55 18
Harry James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Harry James Swing music, Big band, Jazz

13
+ - 68 28
Buddy Rich is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Buddy Rich Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
+ - 46 15
Gene Krupa is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Gene Krupa Swing music, Big band, Jazz

15
+ - 37 9
Lionel Hampton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Lionel Hampton Swing music, Big band

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16
+ - 42 15
Cab Calloway is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Cab Calloway Swing music, Big band, Jazz

17
+ - 32 8
Jimmy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jimmy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

18
+ - 35 11
Woody Herman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Woody Herman Cool jazz, Swing music, Big band

19
+ - 43 22
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Doris Day Traditional pop music, Big band

20
+ - 23 6
Charlie Barnet is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Charlie Barnet Swing music, Big band

21
+ - 28 14
Ray Eberle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Eberle Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

22
+ - 33 20
Ray Conniff is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Conniff Big band

23
+ - 18 7
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

24
+ - 6 0
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

25
+ - 20 9
Swing Sisters is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing Sisters Ragtime, Swing music, Big band

26
+ - 24 13
Roy Eldridge is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Roy Eldridge Swing music, Big band, Jazz

27
+ - 17 7
Tony Martin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Tony Martin Traditional pop music, Big band

28
+ - 21 12
Earl Hines is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Earl Hines Swing music, Big band, Jazz

29
+ - 21 14
Ted Heath is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Heath Big band, Easy listening, Jazz

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30
+ - 13 7
Jack Jones is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jack Jones Traditional pop music, Big band, Jazz

31
+ - 14 8
Glen Gray is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glen Gray Big band, Jazz

32
+ - 15 9
Frankie Carle is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frankie Carle Piano, Traditional pop music, Big band

33
+ - 16 10
Vaughn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vaughn Monroe Traditional pop music, Big band

34
+ - 17 11
Ted Weems is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Weems Big band, Jazz

35
+ - 15 10
Eydie Gorme is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Eydie Gorme Swing music, Traditional pop music, Latin pop

36
+ - 15 10
The Spitfire Band is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
The Spitfire Band Swing music, Big band

37
+ - 16 11
Vic Damone is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vic Damone Traditional pop music, Big band

38
+ - 11 6
Steve Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Steve Lawrence Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

39
+ - 9 4
Don Sebesky is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Don Sebesky Big band, Jazz

40
+ - 5 0
Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

41
+ - 13 8
Neal Hefti is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Neal Hefti Swing music, Big band

42
+ - 14 10
Syd Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Syd Lawrence Big band

43
+ - 8 4
Claude Thornhill is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Claude Thornhill Cool jazz, Jazz

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44
+ - 20 17
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

45
+ - 16 13
Ray McKinley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray McKinley Big band, Jazz

46
+ - 14 11
One O'Clock Lab Band is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
One O'Clock Lab Band Big band, Jazz

47
+ - 13 10
The Squadronaires is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

48
+ - 12 9
Buddy Morrow is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Buddy Morrow Swing music, Big band

49
+ - 15 13
Symphony Nova Scotia is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Symphony Nova Scotia Pop music, Classical music, Big band

50
+ - 9 7
Max Kaminsky is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Max Kaminsky Swing music, Big band, Dixieland