Jazz The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists  

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1k votes 178 voters 20.4k 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)
list ordered by

1
36 3
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

2
60 9
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
46 6
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

4
55 10
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
22 2
Cecil Taylor is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

6
44 9
Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Orchestral jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Third stream

7
41 8
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

8
28 5
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
28 6
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
17 2
Andrew Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Jazz

11
21 6
Alice Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

12
23 12
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

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

14
12 3
Paul Bley is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

15
13 4
Wadada Leo Smith is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free improvisation

16
13 4
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
10 2
Mal Waldron is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

18
10 3
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

19
11 4
Moondog is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Outsider music, Jazz

20
8 2
Henry Threadgill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

21
9 3
David Murray is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

22
9 3
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

23
13 8
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

24
7 2
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

25
7 3
Tim Berne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz

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

29
6 3
Mary Halvorson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Experimental music, Jazz

30
5 2
Steve Reid is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

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

32
4 1
Milford Graves is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, World music, Jazz

33
4 1
Naked City is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

34
7 5
Matthew Shipp is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

35
5 3
Kenny Wheeler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free improvisation

36
5 3
Chris Speed is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Folk jazz, Free jazz

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

38
4 2
Ted Curson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Bebop

39
4 2
Trevor Dunn is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-progressive rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

40
4 2
Fred Anderson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

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

42
3 1
Frank Lowe is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

43
2 0
Michael Bisio is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
WriterGirl added

Avante-garde jazz, free jazz

44
5 4
Lennie Tristano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Cool jazz, Post-bop

45
4 3
Pat Patrick is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Swing music, Hard bop

46
4 3
Phil Minton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free improvisation

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

48
4 3
Elvin Jones is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

49
3 2
Han Bennink is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Avant-garde Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

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