bands/musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
12.7k votes 2k voters 49.9k views 177 items

List Rules The absolute best saxophone players of all time. Vote up the best saxophonists.

These musicians, both living and dead, have forever shaped different genres and styles of music with their incredible talent with the saxophone. The saxophone is a reed instrument that is used in a variety of musical genres and left its mark on many eras. Who are the greatest saxophonists of all time?
 
The saxophone is one of the most popular instruments in the woodwind family, and mastering the craft of playing it can take years of practice The musicians featured on this list have proven their talent and are regarded as the best, whether in jazz, classical, or other types of music.
 
This list features the best saxophonists of all time, ranked as the best by music lovers. This list includes greats like John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, John Zorn, Eric Dolphy, and Joshua Redman. Vote up the best saxophone players below and see where the musicians you think are great rank.

1
574 119
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

2
690 152
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
309 87
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

4
348 107
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

5
252 77
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
317 112
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

7
258 86
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
166 49
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

9
278 106
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

10
215 75
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

11
236 87
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

12
238 89
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

13
192 66
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

14
154 51
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

Famous Saxophonists

15
125 39
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

16
146 53
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

17
138 51
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
121 42
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

19
131 55
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
147 65
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
98 36
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

The Rappers with the Dirtiest Rhymes

22
52 10
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added Chris Potter

23
110 50
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

24
73 30
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

25
92 44
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

26
72 30
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

27
63 24
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

28
85 40
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

29
89 44
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

30
72 34
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

31
72 34
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

32
75 37
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

33
60 26
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

34
73 36
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

35
109 64
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

The 37 Greatest On-Stage Falls of All Time

36
99 59
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

37
57 27
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

38
62 32
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

39
53 26
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

40
44 19
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Maceo Parker P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

41
59 31
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

42
42 18
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

The Best Songs with Line in the Title

43
42 18
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

44
53 27
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

45
45 22
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

46
31 11
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

47
52 29
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

48
47 25
James Moody is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added James Moody

49
42 21
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

50
51 29
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz