Jazz The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists  

Reference
932 votes 167 voters 20.2k views 104 items

Avant-garde jazz artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good avant-garde jazz bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top avant-garde jazz bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Avant-garde jazz groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all avant-garde jazz bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest avant-garde jazz bands of all time, since the most famous avant-garde jazz artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best avant-garde jazz music.

You can click on the avant-garde jazz band names to see more information about that particular notable avant-garde jazz group. If they're near the top of the best avant-garde jazz artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top avant-garde jazz bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the avant-garde jazz band names themselves.

List is made up of a variety of artists, including Medeski Martin & Wood and Elvin Jones. Downvote your least favorite artists and upvote the best ones. The best artists on this list are the ones with the most votes, so show things like Miles Davis and John Coltrane some love.

All important, significant and iconic names in avant-garde jazz music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new avant-garde jazz bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of avant-garde jazz, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into avant-garde jazz music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good avant-garde jazz bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent avant-garde jazz bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best avant-garde jazz bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest avant-garde jazz musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular avant-garde jazz bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

Get your social circle's opnion by re-ranking this list, making it votable then sharing it on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and more. (104 items)

1
57 7
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
30 3
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

3
50 9
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Miles Davis Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

4
40 6
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

5
40 8
Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Charles Mingus Orchestral jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Third stream

6
37 7
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Sun Ra Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

7
19 2
Cecil Taylor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Cecil Taylor Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

8
26 5
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

9
25 5
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

10
15 2
Andrew Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Andrew Hill Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

11
18 6
Alice Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Alice Coltrane Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

12
13 3
Wadada Leo Smith is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Wadada Leo Smith Avant-garde jazz, Free improvisation

13
12 3
Paul Bley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Paul Bley Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

14
13 4
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Chick Corea Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

15
21 12
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
John Zorn Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

16
10 2
Mal Waldron is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Mal Waldron Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
9 3
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Moondog Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

18
9 3
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Sam Rivers Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

19
10 4
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
8 3
David Murray is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
David Murray Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

21
7 2
Henry Threadgill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Henry Threadgill Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

22
11 7
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Keith Jarrett Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

23
7 3
Tim Berne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Tim Berne Avant-garde jazz

24
7 3
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
John Gilmore Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

25
6 2
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Steve Lacy Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

26
6 2
Woody Shaw is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Woody Shaw Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

27
5 1
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

28
7 4
Jimmy Lyons is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Jimmy Lyons Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

29
5 2
Steve Reid is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Steve Reid Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

30
4 1
Milford Graves is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Milford Graves Avant-garde jazz, World music, Jazz

31
4 1
Reggie Workman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Reggie Workman Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

32
4 1
Naked City is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Naked City Noise rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

33
7 5
Matthew Shipp is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Matthew Shipp Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

34
5 3
Kenny Wheeler is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Kenny Wheeler Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free improvisation

35
5 3
Mary Halvorson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Mary Halvorson Avant-garde jazz, Experimental music, Jazz

36
4 2
Trevor Dunn is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Trevor Dunn Avant-progressive rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

37
4 2
Booker Little is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Booker Little Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

38
4 2
Chris Speed is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Chris Speed Avant-garde jazz, Folk jazz, Free jazz

39
4 2
Ted Curson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Ted Curson Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Bebop

40
3 1
Roswell Rudd is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Roswell Rudd Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

41
3 1
Frank Lowe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Frank Lowe Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

42
2 0
Michael Bisio is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
WriterGirl added Michael Bisio Avante-garde jazz, free jazz

43
5 4
Lennie Tristano is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Lennie Tristano Avant-garde jazz, Cool jazz, Post-bop

44
4 3
Elvin Jones is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Elvin Jones Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

45
4 3
Phil Minton is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Phil Minton Avant-garde jazz, Free improvisation

46
4 3
Pat Patrick is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Pat Patrick Avant-garde jazz, Swing music, Hard bop

47
4 3
Irène Schweizer is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Irène Schweizer Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz, Free improvisation

48
3 2
Don Byron is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Don Byron Klezmer, Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop

49
3 2
Terumasa Hino is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Terumasa Hino Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

50
3 2
James Carter is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
James Carter Avant-garde jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion