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
338 67
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

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2
397 93
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
224 69
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
196 57
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
157 51
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
156 56
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
196 80
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
127 46
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

9
124 46
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

10
157 66
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

11
139 56
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
100 34
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

13
150 65
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

14
78 25
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

15
87 31
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
J√°litonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

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16
91 34
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

17
81 30
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

18
94 40
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

19
83 39
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
52 18
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

21
98 54
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
48 21
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

23
56 28
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

24
43 18
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

25
51 25
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

26
61 34
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

27
40 18
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

28
46 23
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

29
72 44
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
47 24
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

31
60 35
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

32
56 32
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

33
37 17
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

34
43 22
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

35
33 14
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

36
30 13
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

37
37 19
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

38
41 23
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

39
29 13
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gene Ammons Jazz

40
36 20
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

41
29 14
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

42
15 2
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

43
23 9
Jimmy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jimmy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

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44
25 11
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

45
34 19
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

46
35 20
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

47
28 14
Scott Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Scott Hamilton Jazz

48
26 13
Don Byas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Don Byas Swing music, Bebop

49
19 7
Eddie Harris is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Eddie Harris Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

50
31 18
James Moody is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added James Moody