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bands/musicians The Best Big Bands of All Time  

3.9k votes 825 voters 81.9k views 87 items 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. (87 items)
list ordered by

1
225 55
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frank Sinatra Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

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2
272 75
Dean Martin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Dean Martin Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

3
190 44
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
175 47
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
193 57
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
139 41
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
139 44
Count Basie Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

8
65 11
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Count Basie Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

9
97 32
Glenn Miller is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glenn Miller Swing music, Big band, Jazz

10
89 36
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
73 28
Buddy Rich is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Buddy Rich Swing music, Big band, Jazz

12
72 28
Artie Shaw is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Artie Shaw Swing music, Big band

13
56 19
Harry James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Harry James Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
48 16
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 11
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
38 12
Woody Herman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Woody Herman Cool jazz, Swing music, Big band

17
43 18
Cab Calloway is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Cab Calloway Swing music, Big band, Jazz

18
32 10
Jimmy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jimmy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

19
44 24
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 8
Charlie Barnet is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Charlie Barnet Swing music, Big band

21
35 23
Ray Conniff is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Conniff Big band

22
28 17
Ray Eberle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Eberle Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

23
19 9
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
24 15
Roy Eldridge is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Roy Eldridge Swing music, Big band, Jazz

25
18 10
Tony Martin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Tony Martin Traditional pop music, Big band

26
20 12
Swing Sisters is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing Sisters Ragtime, Swing music, Big band

27
21 13
Earl Hines is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Earl Hines Swing music, Big band, Jazz

28
8 2
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

29
14 8
Jack Jones is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jack Jones Traditional pop music, Big band, Jazz

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30
17 11
Vaughn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vaughn Monroe Traditional pop music, Big band

31
21 15
Ted Heath is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Heath Big band, Easy listening, Jazz

32
17 12
Ted Weems is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Weems Big band, Jazz

33
14 9
Glen Gray is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glen Gray Big band, Jazz

34
15 10
Frankie Carle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frankie Carle Piano, Traditional pop music, Big band

35
6 1
Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Darko Babic added Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass

36
16 12
Vic Damone is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vic Damone Traditional pop music, Big band

37
15 11
The Spitfire Band is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
The Spitfire Band Swing music, Big band

38
15 11
One O'Clock Lab Band is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
One O'Clock Lab Band Big band, Jazz

39
15 11
Eydie Gorme is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Eydie Gorme Swing music, Traditional pop music, Latin pop

40
13 9
Neal Hefti is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Neal Hefti Swing music, Big band

41
11 7
Steve Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Steve Lawrence Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

42
9 5
Don Sebesky is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Don Sebesky Big band, Jazz

43
4 0
Don Ellis is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
joel-green added Don Ellis

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44
14 11
Syd Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Syd Lawrence Big band

45
8 5
Claude Thornhill is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Claude Thornhill Cool jazz, Jazz

46
20 18
Shirley Bassey is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Shirley Bassey Popular music, Adult contemporary music, Pop music

47
16 14
Ray McKinley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray McKinley Big band, Jazz

48
13 11
The Squadronaires is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

49
12 10
Buddy Morrow is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Buddy Morrow Swing music, Big band

50
2 0
Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
JimThomas added Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban jazz, Jazz, Bebop