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bands/musicians The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists  

791 votes 85 voters 11k views 153 items Follow Embed

Free jazz artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good free jazz bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top free jazz bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Free jazz groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all free jazz bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest free jazz bands of all time, since the most famous free jazz artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best free jazz music.

You can click on the free jazz band names to see more information about that particular notable free jazz group. If they're near the top of the best free jazz artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top free jazz bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the free jazz band names themselves.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different artists, including Carlos Santana and The Mars Volta. Rank the best artists on the list to see them get to the top. Are you one of those people that doesn't like Medeski Martin & Wood or Björk? Then vote those things down to have your voice heard.

All important, significant and iconic names in free jazz music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new free jazz bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of free jazz, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into free jazz music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good free jazz bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent free jazz bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best free jazz bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest free jazz 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 free jazz bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

Tweet this or Facebook it to make sure your friends weigh in too. (153 items)

1
+ - 41 5
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

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2
+ - 25 4
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

3
+ - 20 4
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

4
+ - 16 2
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

5
+ - 19 4
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

6
+ - 11 1
Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Charles Mingus Orchestral jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Third stream

7
+ - 14 2
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

8
+ - 14 2
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Sun Ra Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

9
+ - 13 5
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Peter Brötzmann Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

10
+ - 8 1
Don Cherry is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Don Cherry Kozmigroov, World fusion music, World music

11
+ - 12 5
Arthur Doyle is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Arthur Doyle Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

12
+ - 7 1
Naked City is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Naked City Noise rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

13
+ - 12 6
Allan Holdsworth is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Allan Holdsworth Instrumental rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz

14
+ - 10 5
Anthony Coleman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Anthony Coleman Jazz, Free jazz

15
+ - 9 5
Mark Dresser is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Mark Dresser Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

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16
+ - 6 2
Prince Lasha is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Prince Lasha Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

17
+ - 5 1
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
John Zorn Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

18
+ - 5 1
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Sam Rivers Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

19
+ - 4 0
Cecil Taylor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Cecil Taylor Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

20
+ - 11 8
Armen Nalbandian is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Armen Nalbandian Electronic music, Classical music, Experimental music

21
+ - 7 4
Marc Ribot is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Marc Ribot Electronic music, Experimental music, Alternative rock

22
+ - 7 4
Alan Silva is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Alan Silva Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

23
+ - 6 3
Muhal Richard Abrams is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Muhal Richard Abrams Post-bop, Free jazz, Modern Creative

24
+ - 6 3
Michael Jefry Stevens is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Michael Jefry Stevens Jazz, Free jazz, Free improvisation

25
+ - 6 3
Nels Cline is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Nels Cline Noise, Jazz fusion, Noise music

26
+ - 5 2
Paul Bley is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Paul Bley Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

27
+ - 5 2
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Blues-rock, Spoken word, Garage rock

28
+ - 4 1
AMM is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
AMM Experimental music, Free jazz, Free improvisation

29
+ - 6 4
Zs is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Zs No wave, Classical music, Noise music

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30
+ - 6 4
Mary Lou Williams is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Mary Lou Williams Third stream, Swing music, Hard bop

31
+ - 5 3
Pat Patrick is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Pat Patrick Avant-garde jazz, Swing music, Hard bop

32
+ - 4 2
Bobby Hutcherson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Bobby Hutcherson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

33
+ - 3 1
Keith Tippett is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Keith Tippett Jazz, Free jazz, Free improvisation

34
+ - 3 1
Leroy Jenkins is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Leroy Jenkins Free jazz

35
+ - 3 1
Derek Bailey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Derek Bailey Avant-garde jazz, Free funk, Free jazz

36
+ - 3 1
David S. Ware is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
David S. Ware Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

37
+ - 2 0
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists

38
+ - 2 0
Joe Maneri is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists

39
+ - 7 6
12Twelve is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
12Twelve Post-rock, Free jazz

40
+ - 7 6
Roman Stolyar is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Roman Stolyar Art music, Jazz, Free jazz

41
+ - 7 6
Telectu is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Telectu Musique concrète, Experimental rock, Experimental music

42
+ - 7 6
Società Anonima Decostruzionis... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Società Anonima Decostruzionismi Organici Jazz, Avant-garde, Free jazz

43
+ - 4 3
Merzbow is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Merzbow Dark ambient, Musique concrète, Noise

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44
+ - 4 3
Palle Danielsson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Palle Danielsson Post-bop, Jazz, Free jazz

45
+ - 3 2
Tony Oxley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Tony Oxley Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

46
+ - 3 2
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Keith Jarrett Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

47
+ - 2 1
Roy Campbell, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Roy Campbell, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Bebop, Free jazz

48
+ - 2 1
Frank Lowe is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Frank Lowe Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

49
+ - 2 1
Nels Cline Trio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Nels Cline Trio Jazz fusion, Experimental music, West Coast jazz

50
+ - 2 1
Last Exit is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Last Exit Noise music, Experimental music, Punk jazz