Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
3.1k votes 392 voters 7.3k 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!

1
138 25
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

2
167 38
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
102 26
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
85 23
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

5
74 19
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

6
84 26
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

7
84 27
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
87 31
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

9
81 32
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

10
57 19
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

11
61 24
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

12
57 24
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

13
53 22
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

14
61 29
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

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15
57 27
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

16
44 18
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

17
62 34
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

18
39 18
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

19
44 25
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

20
31 14
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
looksharp added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

21
40 23
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

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22
25 13
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
giorgio-catella added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

23
27 15
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

24
12 2
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charley Farley added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

25
30 19
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

26
20 12
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

27
26 18
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

28
18 11
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Gilmore Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

The Best Jazz Composers of All Time

29
23 16
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

30
23 16
Dewey Redman is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Dewey Redman Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

31
24 17
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Steve Lacy Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

32
26 19
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

33
32 25
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

34
36 29
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

35
16 10
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ike Quebec Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

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36
18 12
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Joe Farrell Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

37
26 20
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sam Rivers Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

38
18 13
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Sonny Fortune Jazz, Soul jazz

39
14 9
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joshua Kennedy added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

40
18 14
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

41
9 6
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kevin JQ Jacquet added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

42
26 24
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

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43
17 15
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Marion Brown Jazz, Avant-garde

44
4 3
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
MarickKusch added Chris Potter Jazz

45
2 1
Gerald Albright is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

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

47
13 17
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Peter Brötzmann Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

48
6 9
Fred Anderson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Fred Anderson Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

49
7 11
Julius Hemphill is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

50
0 3
Richie Cole is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
zester added Richie Cole Jazz