Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
3.3k votes 420 voters 7.8k 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
177 39
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
144 27
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
110 28
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
91 25
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

5
93 27
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

6
80 21
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

7
88 29
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
94 34
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

9
90 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
61 21
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

11
64 26
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

12
62 26
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

13
55 25
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

14
65 33
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
45 19
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

16
59 30
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

17
43 19
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ballad, Swing music

18
63 36
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
47 27
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

20
42 24
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

21
32 16
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
looksharp added Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

22
30 17
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz

23
14 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
25 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
31 21
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

26
28 20
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

27
21 14
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

28
24 17
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

29
17 11
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

30
19 13
John Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

31
37 31
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

32
32 27
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

33
26 21
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

34
24 19
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

35
23 18
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 14
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz, Soul jazz

37
26 22
Sam Rivers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

38
19 15
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

39
18 14
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

40
14 10
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Joshua Kennedy added Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

41
10 7
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kevin JQ Jacquet added Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

42
27 25
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

43
6 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
2 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
13 18
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

48
6 10
Fred Anderson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

49
0 3
Richie Cole is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
zester added Jazz

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