music The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

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List Rules The absolute best saxophone players of all time. Vote up the best saxophonists.

These musicians, both living and dead, have forever shaped different genres and styles of music with their incredible talent with the saxophone. The saxophone is a reed instrument that is used in a variety of musical genres and left its mark on many eras. Who are the greatest saxophonists of all time?
 
The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments in the woodwind family, and mastering the craft of playing it can take years of practice The musicians featured on this list have proven their talent and are regarded as the best, whether in jazz, classical, or other types of music.
 
This list features the best saxophonists of all time, ranked as the best by music lovers. This list includes greats like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, John Zorn, Eric Dolphy, and Joshua Redman. Vote up the best saxophone players below and see where the musicians you think are great rank.
list ordered by

1
+ - 366 86
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

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2
+ - 301 65
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
+ - 178 52
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

4
+ - 206 66
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

5
+ - 144 50
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
+ - 142 54
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
+ - 179 76
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
+ - 146 62
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

9
+ - 117 46
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

10
+ - 115 46
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

11
+ - 126 53
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
+ - 140 62
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

13
+ - 91 33
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

14
+ - 68 22
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

15
+ - 82 32
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

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16
+ - 74 27
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
+ - 77 30
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

18
+ - 89 39
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

19
+ - 47 16
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
+ - 75 39
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

21
+ - 91 53
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

22
+ - 45 20
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

23
+ - 49 24
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

24
+ - 52 27
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

25
+ - 39 17
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

26
+ - 39 17
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

27
+ - 56 32
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

28
+ - 57 33
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

29
+ - 69 43
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

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30
+ - 54 31
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

31
+ - 34 16
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

32
+ - 30 13
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

33
+ - 41 23
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

34
+ - 35 18
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

35
+ - 42 24
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

36
+ - 39 22
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

37
+ - 37 22
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

38
+ - 33 19
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

39
+ - 33 19
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

40
+ - 26 13
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

41
+ - 30 17
James Moody is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

42
+ - 31 18
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

43
+ - 23 11
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

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44
+ - 26 14
Scott Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

45
+ - 26 14
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

46
+ - 24 13
Don Byas is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Don Byas Swing music, Bebop

47
+ - 24 13
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

48
+ - 37 25
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

49
+ - 15 5
King Curtis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
King Curtis Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

50
+ - 17 7
Al Cohn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Al Cohn Big band, West Coast jazz