Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
3.4k votes 431 voters 8k views 69 items

List Rules The absolute best jazz saxophonists of all time. Vote up the greatest musicians who play jazz saxophone.

Smooth jazz, fusion jazz, avant-garde jazz, crossover, West Coast, free jazz. Jazz music has influenced many different genres of music. Jazz brought a sense of style and freedom that had never been seen before in the world, and is still one of the most popular categories of music today. The saxophone has long been a feature of jazz music. Who are the greatest jazz saxophonists of all time?
 
The musicians on this list helped to shape the world of jazz and blues though their talent on the saxophone. Many saxophonists in the jazz world improvise, requiring them to have mastered not just their instrument, but music theory as well.
 
This list features the all time greatest jazz saxophonists, ranked as the best by music lovers and featuring musicians like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Sonny Rollins. Vote up the best jazz saxophonists below and see where the musicians you think are great rank!
list ordered by

1
181 41
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
146 30
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
112 30
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
92 25
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

5
94 27
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

6
81 21
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

7
90 29
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
95 35
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

9
92 34
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

10
62 21
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

11
64 26
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
64 28
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
56 25
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

14
67 34
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

15
60 31
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

16
44 20
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ballad, Swing music

17
45 21
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

18
64 38
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

19
44 24
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

20
34 16
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
looksharp added Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

21
48 29
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

22
32 17
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz

23
16 3
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charley Farley added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

24
27 14
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
giorgio-catella added Hard bop, Bebop

25
32 22
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

26
22 14
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

27
25 18
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

28
28 21
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

29
20 14
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz, Soul jazz

30
33 28
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

31
27 22
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

32
19 14
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

33
37 33
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

34
24 20
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

35
23 19
Dewey Redman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

36
19 15
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

37
18 14
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

38
17 13
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

39
14 10
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joshua Kennedy added Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

40
11 7
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kevin JQ Jacquet added Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

41
28 25
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

42
26 23
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

43
7 4
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
MarickKusch added Jazz

44
17 17
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Avant-garde

45
3 2
Gerald Albright is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

46
2 4
Kamasi Washington is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
pd added Jazz, Bebop

47
1 3
Richie Cole is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
zester added Jazz

48
13 18
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

49
6 10
Fred Anderson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

50
7 12
Julius Hemphill is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time