music The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
8.4k votes 1.2k voters 30.3k views 168 items Embed

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
363 77
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Parker Jazz, Bebop

Famous Saxophonists The Female Singer You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

2
426 98
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
John Coltrane Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

3
205 58
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cannonball Adderley Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

4
236 72
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Sonny Rollins Hard bop, Jazz

5
166 53
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

6
164 58
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Dexter Gordon Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

7
208 83
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
134 47
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Henderson Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

9
130 48
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Coleman Hawkins Swing music, Bebop

10
106 35
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

11
169 71
Michael Brecker is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
sandovalarturo1 added Michael Brecker Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues

12
147 59
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Desmond Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

13
160 68
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Wayne Shorter Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

14
96 31
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
JálitonFerreira added Sonny Stitt Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

15
98 35
Gerry Mulligan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gerry Mulligan Cool jazz, Third stream, Jazz

The Best Jazz Saxophonists in the World 21 Most Annoyingly Over-Used Movie Trailer Songs

16
86 30
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
101 40
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
80 28
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Johnny Hodges Ballad, Swing music

19
59 21
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
86 41
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Eric Dolphy Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

21
102 55
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Ornette Coleman Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

22
62 28
Paquito D'Rivera is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paquito D'Rivera Latin jazz, Post-bop, Afro-Cuban jazz

23
55 26
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
50 23
Zoot Sims is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Zoot Sims Cool jazz, Big band, Jazz

25
46 20
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
65 35
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

27
38 14
Sidney Bechet is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Sidney Bechet Ragtime, Jazz, Dixieland

28
41 17
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
51 25
Johnny Griffin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Johnny Griffin Hard bop, Post-bop, Bebop

The Worst Qualities in a Woman Rock Stars Who Died at Age 30

30
50 25
Jackie McLean is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jackie McLean Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Post-bop

31
76 46
Branford Marsalis is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Branford Marsalis Classical music, Post-bop, Jazz

32
63 36
David Sanborn is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
slaft added David Sanborn Pop music, Rock music, Smooth jazz

33
63 37
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Pharoah Sanders Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

34
45 23
Rahsaan Roland Kirk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Rahsaan Roland Kirk Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

35
42 21
Grover Washington, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Andujar added Grover Washington, Jr. Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

36
33 14
Lou Donaldson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Lou Donaldson Hard bop, Jazz blues, Bebop

37
39 19
Benny Golson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Benny Golson Hard bop, Bebop

38
41 21
Paul Gonsalves is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Paul Gonsalves Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

39
43 24
Yusef Lateef is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Yusef Lateef New Age music, Third stream, Swing music

40
39 22
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
37 21
Charlie Rouse is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Charlie Rouse Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

42
27 13
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
27 13
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

The Best Mezcal Brands The Best Books About Developmental Psychology

44
31 17
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
23 10
George Coleman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Alfredo Acuña added George Coleman Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

46
41 26
Archie Shepp is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

47
17 5
Eddie
Stu Miller added Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Swing music, Jazz, Bebop

48
27 14
Don Byas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Don Byas Swing music, Bebop

49
29 16
Gene Ammons is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Gene Ammons Jazz

50
30 17
Illinois Jacquet is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Illinois Jacquet Jump blues, Swing music, Bebop