Bands/Musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
14.6k votes 2.4k voters 60.3k 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
816 178
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
672 146
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
412 125
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
351 109
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
298 95
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

6
283 90
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

7
364 129
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
278 102
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
322 124
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

10
265 97
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

11
190 60
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

12
239 85
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

13
211 72
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

14
175 58
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

15
143 43
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music

16
166 59
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
154 54
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
158 57
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

19
138 46
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
171 69
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
115 41
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
71 17
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added

23
88 35
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

24
125 60
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

25
103 49
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

26
94 45
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
81 38
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

28
77 36
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
68 30
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Jazz

30
66 29
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Bebop

31
82 41
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

32
98 53
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

33
77 38
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
122 72
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

35
88 47
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

36
69 33
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Swing music, Big band, Jazz

37
64 31
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

38
112 69
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

39
52 24
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jazz

40
54 26
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

41
64 34
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

42
58 30
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

43
44 19
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

44
51 25
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

45
46 21
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Hard bop, Bebop

46
37 14
Eddie Harris is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

47
55 29
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

48
56 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
58 33
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

50
55 31
Albert Ayler is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Rhythm and blues, Jazz