List of Famous Jazz Pianists People

List of Famous Jazz Pianists

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List of famous jazz pianists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top jazz pianists in the world? This includes the most prominent jazz pianists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable jazz pianists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic jazz pianists 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 pianists.

List is made up of people like Ray Charles and Nina Simone.

From reputable, prominent, and well known jazz pianists to the lesser known jazz pianists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the jazz pianist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous jazz pianists ever?" and "What are the names of famous jazz pianists?" then you're in the right place. (595 items)


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  1. 1

    Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE was an English actor, comedian, musician and composer. Moore first came to prominence in the UK as one of the four writer-performers in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe from 1960, and with one member of that team, Peter Cook, collaborated on the television series Not ...more

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    • Age: Died at 67 (1935-2002)
    • Birthplace: England, London
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Comedian, Musician, Film Producer, Screenwriter, + more
    • Credits: Arthur, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Foul Play, Bedazzled, 10, + more
  2. 2

    Geetali Norah Jones Shankar, widely known as Norah Jones, is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress. She is a daughter of an American, Sue Jones, and Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. She is Anoushka Shankar's half-sister. In 2002, Norah Jones launched her solo music career with the ...more

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    • Age: age 36
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Singer, + more
    • Credits: Two Weeks Notice, They Came Together, My Blueberry Nights, Life. Support. Music., We Are the Future, + more
  3. 3
    Skylar Grey
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    Holly Brook Hafermann, who goes by the stage name Skylar Grey, is an American singer and songwriter from Mazomanie, Wisconsin. In 2004, under the moniker Holly Brook, at the age of 17, she signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group and a recording contract with Linkin Park’s Warner ...more

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    • Age: age 29
    • Birthplace: Mazomanie, Wisconsin, United States of America
    • Profession: Record producer, Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Musician, Singer-songwriter, + more
  4. 4
    Harry Connick, Jr.
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr. is an American singer, musician and actor. He has sold over 28 million albums worldwide. Connick is ranked among the top 60 best-selling male artists in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 16 million in certified sales. He has had ...more

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    • Age: age 48
    • Birthplace: USA, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Profession: Conductor, Arranger, Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, + more
    • Credits: Independence Day, When Harry Met Sally..., The Iron Giant, P.S. I Love You, American Idol, + more
  5. 5
    Ray Charles
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    Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and composer, who is sometimes referred to as "The Genius". He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into the music he recorded for ...more

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    • Age: Died at 74 (1930-2004)
    • Birthplace: Georgia, USA, Albany
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Arranger, Jazz Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, + more
    • Credits: The Blues Brothers, Spy Hard, Love Affair, Scorpio Rising, Blue's Big Musical Movie, + more
  6. 6

    Nathaniel Adams Coles, known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. Cole was one of the first African Americans to host a ...more

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    • Age: Died at 46 (1919-1965)
    • Birthplace: Montgomery County, Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, + more
    • Profession: Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Singer
    • Credits: Cat Ballou, Kiss Me Deadly, The Blue Gardenia, St. Louis Blues, China Gate, + more
  7. 7
    Count Basie
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local ...more

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    • Age: Died at 80 (1904-1984)
    • Birthplace: Red Bank, New Jersey, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, + more
    • Credits: Blazing Saddles, Cinderfella, Hit Parade of 1943, Norman Granz' Jazz in Montreux: Ella and Basie '79, Norman Granz' Jazz in Montreux: Count Basie Jam '75, + more
  8. 8
    Duke Ellington
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    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile ...more

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    • Age: Died at 75 (1899-1974)
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Lyricist, + more
    • Credits: Anatomy of a Murder, Ådalen 31, Check and Double Check, Paris Blues, NET Playhouse, + more
  9. 9

    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
  10. 10

    Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist. She worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. The sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her ...more

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    • Age: Died at 70 (1933-2003)
    • Birthplace: Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Pianist, Singer
    • Credits: Sharkwater, Rwanda pour mémoire, Nina Simone: Live at Montreux 1976, A Nightingale Sang: Tribute to Nat King Cole, Nina Simone: Live, + more
  11. 11

    Charles Mingus Jr. was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus ...more

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    • Age: Died at 57 (1922-1979)
    • Birthplace: Nogales, Arizona, United States of America
    • Profession: Bassist, Jazz Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Composer
    • Credits: Shadows, All Night Long, Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968, Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus: Live in '64, Charles Mingus: Live at Montreux 1975
  12. 12

    Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. was an American jazz pianist. Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and was a major influence on later generations of jazz pianists. He was hailed for the technical proficiency of his performances, which set a new standard for jazz piano ...more

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    • Age: Died at 47 (1909-1956)
    • Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Pianist, Musician
  13. 13

    Sun Ra was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, poet and philosopher known for his "cosmic philosophy," prolific musical output, and performances. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979. Controversial because of his ...more

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    • Age: Died at 79 (1914-1993)
    • Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Composer, + more
    • Credits: Space Is the Place, Cry of Jazz, Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, The Magic Sun
  14. 14

    Cecil Percival Taylor is an American pianist and poet. Classically trained, Taylor is generally acknowledged as one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an extremely energetic, physical approach, producing complex improvised sounds, frequently involving tone clusters and intricate ...more

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    • Age: age 86
    • Birthplace: Long Island, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Poet, Pianist, Bandleader, Composer
    • Credits: Imagine the Sound
  15. 15
    Chick Corea
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    Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea is an American jazz and fusion pianist, keyboardist, and composer. Many of his compositions are considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis' band in the 1960s, he participated in the birth of the electric jazz fusion movement. In the 1970s he formed Return to ...more

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    • Age: age 74
    • Birthplace: Chelsea, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Jazz Pianist, Keytarist, Pianist, Bandleader, + more
    • Credits: Classic Rhythm & Blues: Vol. 3, Classic Rhythm & Blues: Vol. 2, Chick Corea & Gary Burton: Interaction, Jam Miami: A Celebration of Latin Jazz, Classic Rhythm & Blues: Vol. 4, + more
  16. 16

    Fred Hersch is an American jazz pianist and composer. Hersch has featured himself as either a solo performer or at the helm of varied small ensembles, which in addition to his trio, include a quintet, as well as his "Pocket Orchestra" featuring piano, trumpet, voice and percussion. He was the first ...more

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    • Age: age 60
    • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Jazz Pianist, Pianist, Composer
    • Credits: Side by Each
  17. 17

    Eumir Deodato de Almeida, also known as Eumir Deodato, is a Brazilian pianist, composer, record producer and arranger, primarily based in the jazz realm but who historically has been known for eclectic melding of big band and combo jazz with varied elements of rock/pop, R&B/funk, Brazilian/Latin, ...more

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    • Age: age 72
    • Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • Profession: Arranger, Record producer, Jazz Pianist
    • Credits: Bossa Nova, The Onion Field
  18. 18

    Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide. On December 11, 2009, Billboard magazine named her the second Jazz artist of the 2000–09 decade, establishing her as one of ...more

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    • Age: age 51
    • Birthplace: Nanaimo, Canada
    • Profession: Record producer, Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Actor, Composer, + more
    • Credits: Public Enemies, De-Lovely, Tony Bennett: An American Classic, Piano Grand: A Smithsonian Celebration, 42nd Grammy Awards, + more
  19. 19
    Jan Hammer
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA

    Jan Hammer is a composer, pianist and keyboardist. He first gained his most visible audience while playing keyboards with the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 1970s, as well as his film scores for television and film including "Miami Vice Theme" and "Crockett's Theme", from the popular 1980s program, ...more

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    • Age: age 67
    • Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
    • Profession: Record producer, Jazz Pianist, Keytarist, Songwriter, Pianist, + more
    • Credits: Secret Admirer, Cocaine Cowboys, A Night in Heaven, Dark Angel, Knight Rider 2000, + more
  20. 20
    Billy Strayhorn
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William Thomas "Billy" Strayhorn was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington, lasting nearly three decades. His compositions include "Take the 'A' Train", "Chelsea Bridge", and "Lush Life".more

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    • Age: Died at 52 (1915-1967)
    • Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Arranger, Jazz Pianist, Musician, Composer
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