Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
2.9k votes 368 voters 7k views 67 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
158 35
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
130 24
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
98 26
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
82 22
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

5
69 17
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

6
78 24
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
81 26
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
82 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
77 31
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
56 17
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

11
51 20
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

12
56 24
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
53 23
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

14
58 28
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
52 25
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
40 17
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

17
58 33
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
37 17
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

19
29 13
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
looksharp added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
39 22
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

21
41 24
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

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22
23 11
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
26 14
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

24
30 18
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

25
31 22
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

26
19 11
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
22 14
Dewey Redman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Dewey Redman Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

28
25 17
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

The Best Jazz Composers of All Time

29
35 27
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

30
9 2
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charley Farley added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

31
17 10
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
John Gilmore Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

32
22 15
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

33
25 18
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Anthony Braxton Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

34
26 19
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Sam Rivers Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

35
18 12
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Sonny Fortune Jazz, Soul jazz

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36
22 16
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Steve Lacy Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

37
17 12
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Joe Farrell Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

38
17 13
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

39
14 10
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ike Quebec Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

40
16 14
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Marion Brown Jazz, Avant-garde

41
11 9
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joshua Kennedy added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

42
7 5
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kevin JQ Jacquet added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

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43
24 24
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

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

45
0 2
Richie Cole is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
zester added Richie Cole Jazz

46
12 16
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Peter Brötzmann Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

47
4 8
Miguel Zenón is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Frano Frano added Miguel Zenón Jazz

48
2 6
Joe McPhee is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joe McPhee Jazz

49
1 5
P.J. Perry is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
gnicholls added P.J. Perry Jazz

50
6 11
Julius Hemphill is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time