music 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
467 106
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
399 86
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
256 73
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
220 64
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
181 56
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
180 60
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
226 87
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
148 52
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

9
144 50
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

10
114 37
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

11
160 63
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
179 76
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

13
168 71
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

14
103 34
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

15
105 38
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
91 30
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

17
109 41
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
94 33
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
64 25
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
110 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
90 46
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
68 32
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

23
59 29
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
56 27
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

25
50 23
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

26
42 17
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

27
52 25
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
44 19
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

29
45 20
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

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30
81 49
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

31
53 28
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

32
45 22
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

33
66 39
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

34
67 40
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

35
48 25
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

36
48 25
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

37
66 40
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

38
46 25
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

39
7 0
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added Chris Potter

40
35 16
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

41
41 22
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

42
42 23
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

43
31 14
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

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44
31 15
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

45
44 27
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

46
34 19
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

47
31 17
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

48
31 17
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gene Ammons Jazz

49
24 11
George Coleman is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Alfredo Acuña added George Coleman Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

50
27 14
Jimmy Heath is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jimmy Heath Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop