List of Famous Jazz Musicians People

List of Famous Jazz Musicians

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List of famous jazz musicians, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top jazz musicians in the world? This includes the most prominent jazz musicians, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable jazz musicians is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic jazz musicians were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned jazz musicians.

List features John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and more.

From reputable, prominent, and well known jazz musicians to the lesser known jazz musicians of today, these are some of the best professionals in the jazz musician field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous jazz musicians ever?" and "What are the names of famous jazz musicians?" then you're in the right place. (101 items)


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    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
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    John Coltrane
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    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
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    John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer. AllMusic's Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up ...more

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    • Age: Died at 76 (1917-1993)
    • Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Composer, + more
    • Credits: Stormy Weather, The Cool World, The Cosmic Eye, Jivin' in Be-Bop, My Universe Inside Out, + more
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    Thelonious Monk
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    Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Ruby, My Dear," "In Walked Bud," and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most recorded ...more

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    • Age: Died at 65 (1917-1982)
    • Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States of America
    • Profession: Pianist, Musician, Composer
    • Credits: Les liaisons dangereuses, Jazz Icons: Thelonious Monk: Live in '66, Mounting Tension, Default Averted, East Side Summer
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    Tom Noonan
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    Tom Noonan is a film score composer, voice actor, film editor and producer.more

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    • Age: age 64
    • Birthplace: USA, Connecticut, Greenwich
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Editor, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Heat, RoboCop 2, Manhunter, The Monster Squad, Hell on Wheels, + more
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    Charles Lloyd
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    Charles Lloyd is an American jazz musician. Though he primarily plays tenor saxophone and flute, he has occasionally recorded on other reed instruments, including alto saxophone and the Hungarian tárogató. Lloyd's working band since 2007 features pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer ...more

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    • Age: age 77
    • Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Flautist, Jazz Musician
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    Sheryl Bailey
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    Sheryl Bailey is an American jazz guitarist and educator based in New York City. She has released six albums.more

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    • Age: age 49
    • Profession: Guitarist, Teacher, Jazz Musician
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    Avery Brooks
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    Avery Franklin Brooks is an American actor, director and occasional singer. Brooks is best known for his television roles as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as Hawk on Spenser for Hire and its spinoff A Man Called Hawk, and as Dr. Bob Sweeney in the Academy Award-nominated film American ...more

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    • Age: age 67
    • Birthplace: Evansville, USA, Indiana, Center Township
    • Profession: Opera Singer, Television director, Professor, Actor, Artistic Director, + more
    • Credits: American History X, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 15 Minutes, The Big Hit, Spenser: For Hire, + more
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    Charles "Buddy" Rogers
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    Charles Edward “Buddy” Rogers was an American actor and jazz musician.more

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    • Age: Died at 95 (1904-1999)
    • Birthplace: Olathe, Kansas, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Producer, Actor, Jazz Musician
    • Credits: Wings, Paramount on Parade, Follow Thru, My Best Girl, Abie's Irish Rose, + more
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    Stéphane Grappelli was a French jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands. He has been called "the grandfather of jazz violinists" and continued playing concerts around the world well into his ...more

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    • Age: Died at 89 (1908-1997)
    • Birthplace: Paris, France
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Actor, Jazz Violinist, Jazz Musician
    • Credits: Private Benjamin, Going Places, May Fools, Grappelli: Fascinating Rhythm, Stéphane Grappelli: Live in San Francisco, + more
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    Joshua Redman is an American jazz saxophonist and composer. In 1991, he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.more

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    • Age: age 46
    • Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Saxophonist, Musician, Bandleader, Composer
    • Credits: Blues Brothers 2000, Vanya on 42nd Street, Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years, Reading Rainbow: Music, Music, + more
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    T. S. Monk is an American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader. He is the son of fellow jazz musician, Thelonious Monk.more

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    • Age: age 66
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Bandleader, Drummer, Composer, Jazz Musician
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    Michael Snow, CC is a Canadian artist working in painting, sculpture, video, films, photography, holography, drawing, books and music.more

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    • Age: age 86
    • Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
    • Profession: Sculptor, Painter, Pianist, Film Producer, Screenwriter, + more
    • Credits: La Région centrale, Side Seat Paintings Slides Sound Film, Wavelength, *Corpus Callosum, Seated Figures, + more
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    Darius Brubeck

    Darius Brubeck is an American jazz keyboardist and educator. He is the son of jazz legend Dave Brubeck. He spent many years in Durban, South Africa, as a professor and head of the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of Natal.more

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    • Age: age 68
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Profession: Professor, Jazz Musician
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    Cynthia Jean Cameron Breakspeare — known as Cindy Breakspeare — is a Jamaican jazz musician and former model. She was crowned Miss World 1976. She is the mother of Grammy-winning reggae musician Damian Marley, through her relationship with reggae legend Bob Marley, who remained married to Rita Marley ...more

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    • Age: age 61
    • Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
    • Profession: Model, Jazz Musician
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    Donald Harvey Francks or Iron Buffalo is a Canadian actor, vocalist and jazz musician.more

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    • Age: age 83
    • Birthplace: Burnaby, Canada
    • Profession: Poet, Author, Actor, Voice acting, Peace activist, + more
    • Credits: Heavy Metal, Inspector Gadget, Beetlejuice, La Femme Nikita, My Bloody Valentine, + more
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    John D'earth is an American post bop/hard bop jazz trumpeter born in Holliston, Massachusetts who has appeared on recordings by Dave Matthews and Bruce Hornsby as well as recording a number of CDs on his own. He currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.more

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    • Age: age 65
    • Birthplace: Holliston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Musician, Jazz Composer, Trumpeter, Composer, Jazz Musician
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    Joe Lovano
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    Joseph Salvatore "Joe" Lovano is an American post bop jazz saxophonist, alto clarinetist, flautist, and drummer. Since the late 1980s, Lovano has been one of the world's premiere tenor saxophone players, earning a Grammy Award and several mentions on Down Beat magazine's critics' and readers' polls. He ...more

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    • Age: age 63
    • Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Saxophonist, Flautist, Actor, Drummer, Clarinetist, + more
    • Credits: Carla Bley: Live in Montreal, Joe Lovano Nonet: Paris Concert
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    Gil Mellé was an American artist, jazz musician and film composer. In the 1950s, Mellé's paintings and sculptures were shown in New York galleries and he created the cover art for albums by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Mellé played the tenor and baritone saxophone with George ...more

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    • Age: Died at 73 (1931-2004)
    • Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States of America
    • Profession: Sculptor, Film Score Composer, Painter, Artist, Jazz Musician
    • Credits: The Sentinel, The Andromeda Strain, Embryo, Killdozer!, The Organization, + more
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    Jan Garbarek is a Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist, active in the jazz, classical, and world music genres. Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway, the only child of a former Polish prisoner of war Czesław Garbarek and a Norwegian farmer's daughter. Effectively stateless until the age of seven ...more

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    • Age: age 68
    • Birthplace: Mysen, Norway
    • Profession: Record producer, Composer, Jazz Musician
    • Credits: Space Tourists, Kippur, The Giant Buddhas, Året gjennom Børfjord, Teo the Redhead, + more
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