Music

The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
18.3k votes 3.1k voters 76.6k views 193 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
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop
2
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop
3
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz
4
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz
5
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz
6
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz
7
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
8
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop
9
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop
10
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
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion
12
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
J√°litonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop
13
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, West Coast jazz
14
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
15
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music
16
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
17
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop
18
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
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop
20
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk
21
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
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added
23
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop
24
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
25
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop