Famous Male Bandleaders People

Famous Male Bandleaders

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List of famous male bandleaders, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest male bandleaders list contains the most prominent and top males known for being bandleaders. There are thousand of males working as bandleaders in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic bandleaders have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you're a male aspiring to be a bandleader then the people below should give you inspiration.

List is made up of many different people, including Abdullah Ibrahim and Clifford Thornton.

While this isn't a list of all male bandleaders, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous male bandleaders?" and "Who are the best male bandleaders?"

List Photo: Freebase/Fair use
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  1. 1

    James Brown is a film score composer.more

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    • Age: Died at 73 (1933-2006)
    • Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, United States of America
    • Profession: Record producer, Songwriter, Rapper, Musician, Bandleader, + more
    • Credits: The Blues Brothers, Rocky IV, Blues Brothers 2000, Doctor Detroit, Holy Man, + more
  2. 2
    Count Basie
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local ...more

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    • Age: Died at 80 (1904-1984)
    • Birthplace: Red Bank, New Jersey, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Blazing Saddles, Cinderfella, Hit Parade of 1943, Norman Granz' Jazz in Montreux: Ella and Basie '79, Norman Granz' Jazz in Montreux: Count Basie Jam '75, + more
  3. 3
    Duke Ellington
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use

    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile ...more

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    • Age: Died at 75 (1899-1974)
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Lyricist, + more
    • Credits: Anatomy of a Murder, Ådalen 31, Check and Double Check, Paris Blues, NET Playhouse, + more
  4. 4
    Lawrence Welk
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Lawrence Welk was an American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, who hosted The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans as "champagne music". In 1996, Welk was ranked #43 on TV ...more

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    • Age: Died at 89 (1903-1992)
    • Birthplace: Strasburg, North Dakota, United States of America
    • Profession: Impresario, Musician, Bandleader
    • Credits: The Lawrence Welk Show
  5. 5
    Wynton Marsalis
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Wynton Marsalis is a nominee of 2013 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast.more

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    • Age: age 54
    • Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
    • Profession: Music Educator, Film Score Composer, Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, + more
    • Credits: Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?, Unforgivable Blackness, Tune in Tomorrow, The N-Word, On the Shoulders of Giants, + more
  6. 6
    Lionel Hampton
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Hampton worked with jazz musicians from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Buddy Rich to Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Quincy Jones. In 1992, he was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 94 (1908-2002)
    • Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Composer, Singer, + more
    • Credits: Pennies from Heaven, A Song Is Born, The Timex All-star Swing Festival, Mister Rock and Roll, Lionel Hampton & the Golden Men of Jazz, + more
  7. 7

    Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects ...more

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    • Age: age 75
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: Harlem Nights, Death Wish, Blowup, Indecent Proposal, Colors, + more
  8. 8

    Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, together with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool ...more

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    • Age: Died at 65 (1926-1991)
    • Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Scrooged, Elevator to the Gallows, The Hot Spot, Siesta, Listen Up! The Lives of Quincy Jones, + more
  9. 9

    Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name Little Richard, is an American recording artist, songwriter, and musician. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than six decades. Penniman's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s where his dynamic music and ...more

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    • Age: age 83
    • Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States of America
    • Profession: Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Singer-songwriter, + more
    • Credits: Last Action Hero, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, Chairman of the Board, + more
  10. 10
    Glenn Miller
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Alton Glenn Miller was an American big band musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known big bands. Miller's notable recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", ...more

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    • Age: Died at 40 (1904-1944)
    • Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Musician, Bandleader, Composer, Trombonist
    • Credits: The Glenn Miller Story, Taking Sides, The Bishop's Bedroom, Singapore Sling
  11. 11
    Rick James
    Photo: Manicosity

    Rick James was an American musician and composer. Influenced by singers such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, James started singing in doo-wop and R&B groups as a teenager in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. After entering the U.S. Navy to avoid getting drafted, he deserted to Toronto, where he ...more

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    • Age: Died at 56 (1948-2004)
    • Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Record producer, Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, Composer, + more
    • Credits: Life, 20th Century Masters: The Best of Rick James, Rick James: Super Freak Live 1982
  12. 12

    Charles Mingus Jr. was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus ...more

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    • Age: Died at 57 (1922-1979)
    • Birthplace: Nogales, Arizona, United States of America
    • Profession: Bassist, Jazz Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Composer
    • Credits: Shadows, All Night Long, Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968, Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus: Live in '64, Charles Mingus: Live at Montreux 1975
  13. 13
    John Coltrane
    Photo: Freebase

    John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a ...more

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    • Age: Died at 41 (1926-1967)
    • Birthplace: Hamlet, North Carolina, United States of America
    • Profession: Songwriter, Saxophonist, Musician, Bandleader, Composer
    • Credits: Jazz Casual: John Coltrane, Jazz Icons: John Coltrane: Live in '60, '61 & '65, Jazz Casual
  14. 14
    Paul Shaffer
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM is a Canadian-American musician, actor, voice actor, author, comedian, and composer who has been David Letterman's musical director, band leader and sidekick since 1982.more

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    • Age: age 66
    • Birthplace: Thunder Bay, Canada
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Comedian, Musician, Bandleader, Author, + more
    • Credits: This Is Spinal Tap, Hercules, Scrooged, Blues Brothers 2000, Man on the Moon, + more
  15. 15

    Bill Wyman is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer best known as the bassist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He has worked producing both records and ...more

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    • Age: age 79
    • Birthplace: England, London
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Bassist, Record producer, Musician, Bandleader, + more
    • Credits: Gimme Shelter, Creepers, Opera, Sympathy for the Devil, Stones at the Max, + more
  16. 16
    Benny Goodman
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Benjamin David "Benny" Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America. His January 16, 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City is described by critic ...more

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    • Age: Died at 77 (1909-1986)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Clarinetist
    • Credits: Make Mine Music, A Song Is Born, Hollywood Hotel, The Gang's All Here, Sweet and Low-Down, + more
  17. 17
    Tommy Dorsey
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Thomas Francis "Tommy" Dorsey, Jr. was an American jazz trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. Although he was not known for being a notable soloist, his technical skill on ...more

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    • Age: Died at 51 (1905-1956)
    • Birthplace: Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Bandleader, Trumpeter, Composer, Trombonist
    • Credits: The Fabulous Dorseys, A Song Is Born, Presenting Lily Mars, Upbeat in Music, Stage Show, + more
  18. 18

    Ricky Lee Skaggs is an American country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer, and composer. He primarily plays mandolin; however, he also plays fiddle, guitar, mandocaster and banjo.more

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    • Age: age 61
    • Birthplace: Cordell, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Profession: Mandolinist, Arranger, Record producer, Guitarist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: That Gold Old Nashville Music
  19. 19

    Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," prolific musical output, and performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979. Controversial because of his ...more

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    • Age: Died at 79 (1914-1993)
    • Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Composer, + more
    • Credits: Space Is the Place, Cry of Jazz, Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, The Magic Sun
  20. 20
    Ben Folds
    Photo: Freebase/Fair use

    Benjamin Scott "Ben" Folds is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. From 1995 to 2000, Folds was the frontman and pianist of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five. After the group temporarily disbanded, Folds performed as a solo artist and has toured all over the world. The group ...more

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    • Age: age 49
    • Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
    • Profession: Record producer, Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor, + more
    • Credits: The Sing-Off, William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet, Ben Folds and WASO Live in Perth
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