Bands/Musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
13.8k votes 2.2k voters 56.4k views 189 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.
list ordered by

1
762 167
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
632 134
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
382 114
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
330 100
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
272 83
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
285 90
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
343 123
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
301 114
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

9
177 54
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

10
256 95
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

11
227 81
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

12
203 70
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
246 95
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

14
164 55
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

15
136 42
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music

16
158 56
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

17
150 53
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
130 45
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

19
145 56
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
161 66
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
108 38
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

22
63 14
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added

23
118 54
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

24
83 34
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

25
96 47
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

26
90 43
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

27
79 36
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

28
76 34
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

29
98 50
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

30
67 28
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Jazz

31
65 29
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Bebop

32
79 40
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

33
75 37
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

34
68 33
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Swing music, Big band, Jazz

35
116 70
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

36
80 43
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

37
104 65
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

38
63 34
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

39
59 31
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

40
44 19
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

41
44 20
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Bebop

42
48 24
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jazz

43
54 29
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

44
47 24
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

45
54 30
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

46
59 35
Eric Marienthal is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz

47
47 25
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

48
54 31
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

49
55 32
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

50
49 27
James Moody is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added