Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

2.5k votes 272 voters 5.5k views 65 items Follow Embed

List Rules The absolute best jazz saxophonists of all time. Vote up the greatest musicians who play jazz saxophone.

Smooth jazz, fusion jazz, avant-garde jazz, crossover, West Coast, free jazz. Jazz music has influenced many different genres of music. Jazz brought a sense of style and freedom that had never been seen before in the world, and is still one of the most popular categories of music today. The saxophone has long been a feature of jazz music. Who are the greatest jazz saxophonists of all time?
 
The musicians on this list helped to shape the world of jazz and blues though their talent on the saxophone. Many saxophonists in the jazz world improvise, requiring them to have mastered not just their instrument, but music theory as well.
 
This list features the all time greatest jazz saxophonists, ranked as the best by music lovers and featuring musicians like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Sonny Rollins. Vote up the best jazz saxophonists below and see where the musicians you think are great rank!

1
+ - 106 14
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

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2
+ - 129 23
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
+ - 83 21
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
+ - 67 16
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
+ - 65 16
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

6
+ - 53 12
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

7
+ - 67 21
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
+ - 68 24
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

9
+ - 46 13
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

10
+ - 63 27
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

11
+ - 50 18
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

12
+ - 52 23
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

13
+ - 56 27
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

14
+ - 44 18
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

15
+ - 43 19
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

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16
+ - 36 14
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

17
+ - 43 21
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

18
+ - 39 19
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

19
+ - 37 19
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

20
+ - 30 14
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

21
+ - 24 10
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

22
+ - 25 11
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

23
+ - 29 15
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

24
+ - 31 18
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

25
+ - 19 9
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

26
+ - 21 11
Dewey Redman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Dewey Redman Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

27
+ - 22 12
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Steve Lacy Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

28
+ - 21 12
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

29
+ - 24 15
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

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30
+ - 24 15
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

31
+ - 26 17
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sam Rivers Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

32
+ - 33 24
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

33
+ - 16 8
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Gilmore Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

34
+ - 17 9
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

35
+ - 14 7
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ike Quebec Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

36
+ - 16 9
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Farrell Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

37
+ - 17 10
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Fortune Jazz, Soul jazz

38
+ - 16 10
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

39
+ - 5 0
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

40
+ - 14 9
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Marion Brown Jazz, Avant-garde

41
+ - 10 6
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

42
+ - 23 22
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

43
+ - 5 3
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

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44
+ - 12 11
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Peter Brötzmann Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

45
+ - 3 4
Miguel Zenón is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

46
+ - 2 3
Donny McCaslin is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

47
+ - 1 4
P.J. Perry is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
P.J. Perry Jazz

48
+ - 1 5
Melissa Aldana is a chilean sa... is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Melissa Aldana is a chilean saxophonist, based in NY, winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition

49
+ - 4 9
Julius Hemphill is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

50
+ - 4 9
David S. Ware is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
David S. Ware Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz