Music

The Best Saxophonists in the World

List Rules
Vote up your all-time favorite saxophonist who's alive today.

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 your favorite 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.
Photo:
Ranked by
  • John Coltrane
    1
    A Love Supreme, My Favorite Things, Giant Steps
    • Charlie Parker
      2
      Portrait, Bird: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve, The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948
      • Sonny Rollins
        3
        Sonny Side Up, Planet Jazz: Sonny Rollins, Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders
        • Chris Potter
          4
          Critical Mass, The Sirens, Traveling Mercies
          • Wayne Shorter
            5
            The Young Lions, 1+1, A Tribute to Miles
            • Joshua Redman
              6
              Spirit of the Moment: Live at the Village Vanguard, Beyond, Joshua Redman
              • Branford Marsalis
                7
                The Majesty of the Blues, Crescent City Christmas Card, Christmas Jazz Jam
                • Lester Young
                  8
                  Billie Holliday With Lester Young: Lady Day & Prez 1937-1941, The Quintessence, Volume 1: Chicago - New York - Los Angeles 1936-1944
                  • Kenny Garrett
                    9
                    Dreyfus Night in Paris, Introducing Kenny Garrett, Old Folks
                    • Benny Golson
                      10
                      Complete 1957-1958 Quintet & Sextet Sessions, Terminal 1, Tune In Turn On: To the Hippest Commercials of the Sixties
                      • Johnny Hodges
                        11
                        Everybody knows Johnny Hodges, Compact Jazz, Creamy
                        • Grover Washington, Jr.
                          12
                          Strawberry Moon, Winelight, Mister Magic
                          • David Sanborn
                            13
                            Lethal Weapon 3, Another Hand, Double Vision
                            • Ornette Coleman
                              14
                              The Shape of Jazz to Come, At The "Golden Circle" Stockholm, Volume 2
                              • Eric Marienthal
                                15
                                Easy Street, Turn Up the Heat, Street Dance
                                • James Carter
                                  16
                                  Chasin' the Gypsy, At the Crossroads, Jurassic Classics
                                  • Joe Lovano
                                    17
                                    I Have the Room Above Her, Symphonica, Flying Colors
                                    • Ravi Coltrane
                                      18
                                      Moving Pictures, In Flux, Spirit Fiction
                                      • Pharoah Sanders
                                        19
                                        Karma, Jewels of Thought, Tauhid
                                        • Donny McCaslin
                                          20
                                          Exile and Discovery, Casting for Gravity, In Pursuit
                                          • John Zorn
                                            21
                                            50th Birthday Celebration, Volume 4, Masada: Gimel
                                            • Lou Donaldson
                                              22
                                              LD + 3, Blues Walk, The Natural Soul
                                              • Anthony Braxton
                                                23
                                                Beyond Quantum, One in Two – Two in One, 3 Compositions of New Jazz
                                                • Boney James
                                                  24
                                                  Shake It Up, Boney's Funky Christmas, Ricky Lawson & Friends: First Things 1st