bands/musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
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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
563 123
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
461 96
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
287 81
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
247 71
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
204 65
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
258 93
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
204 69
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

8
218 85
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
190 71
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

10
170 61
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

11
124 38
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
190 76
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
124 42
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

14
159 63
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
102 32
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

16
105 34
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

17
118 42
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

18
116 46
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

19
78 28
Phil Woods is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Phil Woods Crossover jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

20
124 58
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
102 49
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

The All-Time Best Rock Bassists

22
83 42
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

23
69 33
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

24
73 37
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

25
23 3
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added Chris Potter

26
62 30
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

27
50 21
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

28
55 25
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World

29
81 45
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

30
47 20
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

31
73 40
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
56 27
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

33
56 27
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

34
58 29
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

35
91 55
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
50 24
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

37
56 29
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
58 31
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

39
48 24
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

40
35 15
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Maceo Parker P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

41
45 24
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

42
35 16
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

The Hogan Family Cast List

43
48 28
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

44
36 18
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

45
43 24
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

46
24 9
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

47
32 16
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

48
25 10
Eddie Harris is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Eddie Harris Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

49
40 23
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

50
45 28
Gato Barbieri is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gato Barbieri Smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Jazz