bands/musicians The Best Big Bands of All Time  

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5k votes 1.1k voters 93.5k views 89 items

At the onset of the Roaring '20s and even during the Great Depression, the best big bands had the ability to get people to relax, dance and have a good time even when the world around them was crumbling. Big bands, were exactly that. Featuring a number of horns, woodwinds and brass players, that often times had anywhere from 12 to 25 members playing. The best big band artists are generally soloists, who had their time in the sun, and the bandleaders themselves. These are the musicians closely associated with big bands and the best big band artists are widely regarded and praised nearly a century after their initial run of success.

So, who are the best big bands? Well, for starters, any list of big band artists has to include the likes of Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. These musicians and bandleaders were the biggest rock stars of their time. With their suave fashion and music being played on the radio for the first time, these big bands were the first to achieve success and notoriety on a wider scale.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best big bands. If you notice a big band should be on this list and isn't, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best big band bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest big band 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 big band bands that you might've heard of. (89 items)
list ordered by

1
278 85
Glenn Miller Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glenn Miller Orchestra Big band, Jazz

2
201 53
Benny Goodman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Benny Goodman Swing music, Big band, Jazz

3
229 65
Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Duke Ellington Orchestral jazz, Swing music, Big band

4
230 68
Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Louis Armstrong Swing music, Traditional pop music, Jazz

5
184 55
Count Basie Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

6
264 93
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frank Sinatra Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

7
292 113
Dean Martin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Dean Martin Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

8
98 23
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Count Basie Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

9
137 44
Glenn Miller is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glenn Miller Swing music, Big band, Jazz

10
119 46
Tommy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Tommy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Jazz

11
98 37
Artie Shaw is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Artie Shaw Swing music, Big band

12
84 31
Harry James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Harry James Swing music, Big band, Jazz

13
97 42
Buddy Rich is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Buddy Rich Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
61 23
Cab Calloway is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Cab Calloway Swing music, Big band, Jazz

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15
48 14
Jimmy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jimmy Dorsey Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

16
51 19
Woody Herman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Woody Herman Cool jazz, Swing music, Big band

17
58 25
Gene Krupa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Gene Krupa Swing music, Big band, Jazz

18
44 18
Lionel Hampton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Lionel Hampton Swing music, Big band

19
24 6
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

20
27 10
Charlie Barnet is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Charlie Barnet Swing music, Big band

21
53 33
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Doris Day Traditional pop music, Big band

The Best Big Band Songs

22
49 30
Ray Conniff is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Conniff Big band

23
31 16
Swing Sisters is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing Sisters Ragtime, Swing music, Big band

24
24 10
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

25
27 14
Earl Hines is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Earl Hines Swing music, Big band, Jazz

26
13 2
Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
JimThomas added Dizzy Gillespie Afro-Cuban jazz, Jazz, Bebop

27
27 16
Roy Eldridge is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Roy Eldridge Swing music, Big band, Jazz

28
30 21
Ray Eberle is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray Eberle Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

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29
17 9
Neal Hefti is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Neal Hefti Swing music, Big band

30
18 10
Glen Gray is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Glen Gray Big band, Jazz

31
20 13
Tony Martin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Tony Martin Traditional pop music, Big band

32
25 18
Ted Heath is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Heath Big band, Easy listening, Jazz

33
15 9
Jack Jones is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Jack Jones Traditional pop music, Big band, Jazz

34
20 14
Vic Damone is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vic Damone Traditional pop music, Big band

35
10 5
Don Sebesky is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Don Sebesky Big band, Jazz

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36
17 12
Eydie Gorme is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Eydie Gorme Swing music, Traditional pop music, Latin pop

37
7 2
Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Darko Babic added Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass

38
18 13
Vaughn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Vaughn Monroe Traditional pop music, Big band

39
19 14
Ray McKinley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ray McKinley Big band, Jazz

40
18 14
One O'Clock Lab Band is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
One O'Clock Lab Band Big band, Jazz

41
17 13
Ted Weems is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Ted Weems Big band, Jazz

42
16 12
The Spitfire Band is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
The Spitfire Band Swing music, Big band

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43
16 12
Frankie Carle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Frankie Carle Piano, Traditional pop music, Big band

44
5 1
Don Ellis is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
joel-green added Don Ellis

45
16 13
Syd Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Syd Lawrence Big band

46
11 8
Steve Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Steve Lawrence Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music

47
10 7
Claude Thornhill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Claude Thornhill Cool jazz, Jazz

48
8 5
Doc Cheatham is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Doc Cheatham Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

49
4 1
Erskine Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
JimThomas added Erskine Hawkins

50
3 0
The Andrews Sisters is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Noah Haon added The Andrews Sisters Girl group, Swing music, Boogie-woogie