Jazz The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists  

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1k votes 146 voters 14k views 154 items

Free jazz artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good free jazz bands includes a filter so you can sort by the groups’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top free jazz bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Free jazz groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all free jazz bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest free jazz bands of all time, since the most famous free jazz artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best free jazz music.

You can click on the free jazz band names to see more information about that particular notable free jazz group. If they're near the top of the best free jazz artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top free jazz bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the free jazz band names themselves.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different artists, including Carlos Santana and The Mars Volta. Rank the best artists on the list to see them get to the top. Are you one of those people that doesn't like Medeski Martin & Wood or Björk? Then vote those things down to have your voice heard.

All important, significant and iconic names in free jazz music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new free jazz bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of free jazz, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into free jazz music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good free jazz bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent free jazz bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best free jazz bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest free jazz 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 free jazz bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

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list ordered by

1
59 11
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
45 7
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

3
29 6
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Zaliste added Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

4
31 8
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

5
27 5
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

6
13 1
Cecil Taylor is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
slaft added Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

7
21 3
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

8
23 4
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

9
7 0
Art Ensemble of Chicago is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Andujar added Jazz

10
20 5
Charles Mingus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
slaft added Orchestral jazz, Avant-garde jazz, Third stream

11
20 7
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

12
14 2
Don Cherry is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Kozmigroov, World fusion music, World music

13
10 1
John Zorn is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Dark ambient, Noise rock, Klezmer

14
11 2
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

15
10 2
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
slaft added Jazz

16
9 3
Naked City is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Noise rock, Avant-garde jazz, Experimental rock

17
13 7
Arthur Doyle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free jazz

18
7 2
Evan Parker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Jazz, Free jazz, Free improvisation

19
6 1
Charlie Haden is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Folk jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
7 2
Prince Lasha is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

21
11 7
Anthony Coleman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Jazz, Free jazz

22
8 4
Marc Ribot is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Electronic music, Experimental music, Alternative rock

23
6 2
Derek Bailey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
Avant-garde jazz, Free funk, Free jazz

24
4 0
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
slaft added Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

25
4 0
Jimmy Giuffre is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Free Jazz Bands/Artists
slaft added Cool jazz, Third stream, Folk jazz