Music

The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World  

Ranker Music
556 votes 111 voters 2.5k views 42 items

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.
list ordered by
1
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Hard bop, Jazz
2
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop
3
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz
4
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk
5
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
6
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music
7
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz
8
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
mitch24 added Cool jazz, West Coast jazz
9
Scott Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
10
David Murray is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Free jazz
11
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz
12
Eric Alexander is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
13
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz
14
Albert Alva is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Albert Alva Jazz, Swing Jazz
15
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
16
Kenny Garrett is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Jazz fusion, Post-bop, Jazz
17
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
mitch24 added Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz
18
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop
19
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz
20
Eric Marienthal is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
21
Ravi Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Post-bop, Jazz
22
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz
23
Steve Coleman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
24
Henry Threadgill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz
25
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World