Jazz The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World  

Ranker Music
341 votes 66 voters 1.4k views 40 items Embed

List Rules Vote up all your favorite jazz sax players on this list, and add any that you don't see on here.

The saxophone is one of the most popular and diverse musical instruments in the world. It's permeated through dozens of genres of music, lending itself to help create some of the most moving and emotional pieces of music in history. The people on this list are masters of reed instruments and are considered giants in the musical world.  

Whether you recognize these musicians or not, they've all carved a place out for themselves in the music world and have become influential and prominent figures in the industry. If you love geeking out on music, we definitely recommend finding some of their music. 

This list is votable and rerankable, so take a look through and vote up the greatset modern jazz saxophonists. If you don't see someone on here who should be, feel free to add them, but this list is for living musicians only.

1
22 4
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

To Become A Jazz Great, He Had To Hide His True Heritage – The Son Of A Hitler-Supporting ... The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

2
13 8
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

3
10 5
David Murray is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
David Murray Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz

4
8 3
Albert Alva is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Albert Alva Jazz, Swing Jazz

5
6 1
Eric Alexander is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

6
11 7
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

7
11 7
Kenny Garrett is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Kenny Garrett Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz

8
9 5
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

9
9 5
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

10
11 8
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

11
10 7
Ravi Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Ravi Coltrane Post-bop, Jazz

12
10 7
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

13
8 5
Ranker Video
-39 added Danny Markovitch Marbin is a progressive jazz-rock band based in Chicago IL.  Marbin has a unique story that stands out in today's music world. With a do-it-yourself approach, Marbin started touring in 2011 and has played over a thousand ...

14
4 1
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Chris Potter Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

15
9 7
Aurora Nealand is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Aurora Nealand Jazz, New Orleans Jazz

The Best Jazz Composers of All Time Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

16
7 5
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

17
6 4
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

18
5 3
Scott Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

19
5 3
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

20
5 3
Eric Marienthal is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

21
2 0
Benn Clatworthy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Benn Clatworthy Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

22
7 6
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

23
7 6
James Carter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
James Carter Avant-garde jazz, Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion

24
2 1
Jim Sauter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Jim Sauter Jazz; blues

25
2 1
Steve Coleman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

26
2 1
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Peter Brötzmann Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

27
2 1
Henry Threadgill is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Henry Threadgill Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

28
2 1
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

29
1 0
Tim Berne is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Tim Berne Avant-garde jazz

The Greatest Pregnant Characters in Film Biggest, Reddest Flags Modern Daters Should Look Out For

30
1 0
Joseph Jarman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

31
1 0
Danny Markovitch is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
marbinmusic added Danny Markovitch

32
1 1
J.D. Allen III is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
J.D. Allen III Jazz; blues

33
1 1
Donny McCaslin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Donny McCaslin Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

34
0 0
Charles Gayle is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

35
1 2
Don Dietrich is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Don Dietrich Jazz; blues

36
0 1
Matana Roberts is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Matana Roberts Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

37
0 1
Jemeel Moondoc is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

38
0 1
Mats Gustafsson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

39
0 1
Ken Vandermark is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Ken Vandermark Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

40
0 2
Joe McPhee is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Joe McPhee Jazz