Jazz The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
3.5k votes 449 voters 8.3k views 70 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
185 42
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
150 30
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
113 31
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
98 27
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
92 27
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

6
81 23
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

7
96 34
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
90 31
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

9
96 36
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

10
64 21
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

11
67 26
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
65 28
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
67 34
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

14
56 26
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

15
61 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 21
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ballad, Swing music

17
65 38
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

18
45 22
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

19
45 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
18 3
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Charley Farley added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

21
34 17
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
48 30
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

23
32 18
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz

24
27 15
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
giorgio-catella added Hard bop, Bebop

25
33 22
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

26
29 21
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

27
22 15
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

28
20 14
Joe Farrell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

29
25 19
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Big band, Jazz

30
27 22
Anthony Braxton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Opera, Jazz

31
20 15
Sonny Fortune is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz, Soul 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
33 29
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

34
18 14
Ike Quebec is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

35
37 34
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

36
24 21
Steve Lacy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Dixieland

37
23 20
Dewey Redman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

38
19 16
Roscoe Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

39
14 11
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 8
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 26
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

42
26 24
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 5
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
MarickKusch added Jazz

44
4 3
Gerald Albright is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

45
17 18
Marion Brown is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Avant-garde

46
0 0
Hi! The photo you've got for ... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Susie V Kaufman added Hi! The photo you've got for Joe Farrell is not of he. Whenever he was on tour, or on break, and hit my city, he'd stay with me in my home -- and that's for MANY years, so I am quite positive that photo is not Joe Farrell, my dear friend.

47
2 5
Kamasi Washington is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
pd added Jazz, Bebop

48
1 4
Richie Cole is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
zester added Jazz

49
13 19
Peter Brötzmann is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz, Free jazz

50
2 6
P.J. Perry is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time
gnicholls added Jazz