bands/musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

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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.
list ordered by

1
525 114
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

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2
442 93
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
280 79
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
238 68
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
198 63
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
197 66
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
248 92
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
163 58
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

9
178 67
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

10
203 82
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

11
116 37
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

12
157 61
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
119 40
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

14
180 74
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

15
114 40
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

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16
101 33
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
97 31
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

18
115 43
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

19
74 26
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
117 57
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 48
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

22
15 1
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added Chris Potter

23
65 31
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

24
60 29
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

25
69 36
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
46 19
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

27
56 27
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

28
74 41
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

29
53 25
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

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30
53 25
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

31
55 27
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

32
47 21
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

33
88 53
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

34
70 39
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

35
52 25
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

36
75 43
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
47 23
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

38
55 30
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

39
46 24
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

40
44 23
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

41
35 17
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

42
42 23
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

43
38 20
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

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44
32 15
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

45
33 16
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

46
29 13
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Maceo Parker P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

47
23 8
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

48
45 27
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

49
45 28
Eric Marienthal is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Eric Marienthal Jazz

50
33 18
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop