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Famous Male Jazz Musicians

Updated June 14, 2019 13.5k views47 items

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

People include everyone from John Horler to Al Sergel.

While this isn't a list of all male jazz musicians, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous male jazz musicians?" and "Who are the best male jazz musicians?"
  • Herbert Jeffrey Hancock (born April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. Hancock started his career with Donald Byrd. He shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet, where he helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound. In the 1970s, Hancock experimented with jazz fusion, funk, and electro styles. Hancock's best-known compositions include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), "Maiden Voyage", "Chameleon", and the singles "I Thought It Was You" and "Rockit". His 2007 tribute album River: The...  more
    • Age: 80
    • Birthplace: USA, Chicago, Illinois

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  • John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) 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 and was at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of his career, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second wife...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 41 (1926-1967)
    • Birthplace: Hamlet, North Carolina, United States of America

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  • John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie (; October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer.Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic and rhythmic complexity previously unheard in jazz. His combination of musicianship, showmanship, and wit made him a leading popularizer of the new music called bebop. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks, and his light-hearted personality provided some of bebop's most prominent symbols.In the 1940s Gillespie, with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 76 (1917-1993)
    • Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States of America

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  • Thelonious Sphere Monk (, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser", "Ruby, My Dear", "In Walked Bud", and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.Monk's compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists and are consistent with his unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 65 (1917-1982)
    • Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States of America

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