READ Famous Male Jazz Composers

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List of famous male jazz composers, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest male jazz composers list contains the most prominent and top males known for being jazz composers. There are thousand of males working as jazz composers in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic jazz composers have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you're a male aspiring to be a jazz composer then the people below should give you inspiration.

List features people like John Coltrane, Andrew Arthur Allen Jr and more!

While this isn't a list of all male jazz composers, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous male jazz composers?" and "Who are the best male jazz composers?"
Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Male Jazz Composers
Photo:  Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a "liberating principle", and referred to his music as part of the more general category of "American Music", rather than to a musical genre such as ...more

Age: Died at 75 (1899-1974)

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

Also Ranked

#10 on The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

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Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Male Jazz Composers
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of ...more

Age: 77

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Also Ranked

#7 on The Greatest Keytarists of All Time

#43 on The Greatest Flautists of All Time

#4 on The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

#8 on The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

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John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Male Jazz Composers
Photo: Freebase

John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most ...more

Age: Died at 41 (1926-1967)

Birthplace: USA, North Carolina, Hamlet

Also Ranked

#91 on The Most Beloved US Veterans

#2 on The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

#2 on The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

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Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Male Jazz Composers
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer. AllMusic's Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated [...] Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time." Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of ...more

Age: Died at 76 (1917-1993)

Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States of America

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