Bands/Musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
15.5k votes 2.6k voters 63.9k views 191 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
879 184
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
724 151
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
451 126
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
376 120
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
320 100
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

6
296 95
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

7
378 134
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
297 106
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

9
202 62
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
J√°litonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

10
280 100
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

11
252 87
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

12
341 131
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

13
224 74
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

14
186 59
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

15
151 45
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music

16
154 48
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
168 56
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
174 61
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

19
172 60
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
182 72
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
123 42
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
78 18
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added

23
117 50
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

24
96 39
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
129 65
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time