Bands/Musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
14.2k votes 2.3k voters 58.2k views 190 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
785 170
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
646 137
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
393 117
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
336 106
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
291 92
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

6
278 87
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

7
353 125
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
269 98
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
184 58
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

10
308 120
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

11
208 72
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

12
252 95
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

13
231 85
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

14
170 58
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

15
140 43
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music

16
163 58
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
152 54
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
136 46
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
152 57
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
166 68
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
111 39
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
68 15
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added

23
121 57
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

24
85 35
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
91 44
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

26
97 49
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

27
80 38
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

28
67 29
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Jazz

29
98 52
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
76 36
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

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
69 33
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Swing music, Big band, Jazz

34
83 44
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

35
75 38
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

36
118 71
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

37
108 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
60 31
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

39
63 34
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

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
37 14
Eddie Harris is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

42
49 24
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jazz

43
44 20
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Bebop

44
50 25
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 29
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

46
55 30
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

47
57 32
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

48
55 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
47 25
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

50
60 36
Eric Marienthal is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Jazz