Bands/Musicians The Best Big Bands of All Time  

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6.5k votes 1.4k voters 104.7k views 89 items
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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
308 89
Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Orchestral jazz, Swing music, Big band

2
374 118
Glenn Miller Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Big band, Jazz

3
250 68
Count Basie Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

4
286 83
Benny Goodman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

5
265 83
Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Jazz

6
190 54
Glenn Miller is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

7
129 28
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

8
306 111
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Big band

9
146 39
Artie Shaw is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band

10
320 126
Dean Martin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz

11
156 50
Tommy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

12
122 37
Harry James is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

13
127 48
Buddy Rich is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

14
75 21
Woody Herman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Cool jazz, Swing music, Big band

15
77 26
Cab Calloway is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

16
63 18
Jimmy Dorsey is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Dixieland

17
74 27
Gene Krupa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

18
43 8
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time

19
54 20
Lionel Hampton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band

20
30 5
Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
JimThomas added Afro-Cuban jazz, Jazz, Bebop

21
39 12
Charlie Barnet is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band

22
68 36
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Traditional pop music, Big band

23
30 11
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

24
58 35
Ray Conniff is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Big band

25
34 15
Earl Hines is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Big Bands of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz