music The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

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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
491 110
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

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2
414 91
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

3
268 78
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

4
229 68
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
190 61
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
189 64
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
234 91
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Stan Getz Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
170 65
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

9
152 56
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

10
191 78
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

11
153 58
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

12
109 35
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

13
116 39
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

14
172 73
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

15
114 41
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

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16
110 39
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

17
94 30
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

18
98 33
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Art Pepper Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

19
68 25
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
113 57
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
93 48
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

22
46 18
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

23
68 35
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

24
60 30
Stanley Turrentine is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Stanley Turrentine Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

25
52 24
Benny Carter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Carter Swing music, Big band, Jazz

26
56 28
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

27
53 26
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

28
46 21
Lee Konitz is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Lee Konitz Cool jazz, Jazz

29
68 39
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

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30
83 51
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

31
50 25
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

32
50 25
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

33
70 41
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

34
69 41
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

35
45 22
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

36
46 23
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

37
53 29
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

38
48 25
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

39
35 16
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

40
43 23
Oliver Nelson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Oliver Nelson Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

41
41 22
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

42
31 14
Harold Land is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Harold Land Hard bop, Bebop

43
32 15
Pepper Adams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Pepper Adams Hard bop, Big band, Jazz

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44
37 20
Joe Lovano is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
VicençMartí added Joe Lovano Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

45
45 27
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

46
33 17
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop

47
28 13
Maceo Parker is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Maceo Parker P-Funk, Jazz, Soul jazz

48
32 17
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gene Ammons Jazz

49
19 6
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

50
31 17
Scott Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Scott Hamilton Jazz