bands/musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
11.5k votes 1.8k voters 44.9k views 173 items Embed

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
626 134
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

2
509 103
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
317 93
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
275 81
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
226 68
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
284 103
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
231 79
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
253 98
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

9
195 70
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

10
215 81
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

11
140 43
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
214 82
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

13
139 45
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

14
170 65
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

Famous Saxophonists

15
134 46
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

16
112 36
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
114 38
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

18
125 49
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

19
140 60
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

20
116 51
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

21
84 34
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 Best Concert Movies Streaming on Hulu

22
37 6
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added Chris Potter

23
92 45
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

24
64 27
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

25
57 22
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

26
76 36
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

27
82 41
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

28
93 50
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

29
67 31
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

30
64 29
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

31
80 41
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

32
64 30
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

33
67 33
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

34
54 24
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

35
98 58
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
52 23
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

37
64 33
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

38
57 29
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
38 16
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

40
54 29
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

41
48 25
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

42
49 26
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

The Best Songs with Line in the Title

43
39 18
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Maceo Parker P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

44
46 25
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
36 17
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

46
38 19
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

47
26 9
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

48
47 27
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Albert Ayler Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

49
38 20
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

50
44 26
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