Jazz The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists  

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1.1k votes 189 voters 20.8k 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.

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list ordered by

1
67 9
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
53 6
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

3
42 4
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

4
60 14
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

5
49 10
Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Orchestral jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Third stream

6
28 3
Cecil Taylor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

7
46 10
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

8
33 6
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

9
34 7
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

10
21 3
Andrew Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

11
15 2
Mal Waldron is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

12
16 3
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

13
17 5
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

14
22 11
Alice Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

15
12 2
Henry Threadgill is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

16
25 14
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

17
16 6
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

18
11 2
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

19
12 3
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

20
12 3
David Murray is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

21
14 5
Wadada Leo Smith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free improvisation

22
17 8
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

23
10 2
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

24
13 5
Paul Bley is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

25
8 1
Roswell Rudd is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz