Bands/Musicians The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time  

Ranker Music
14.9k votes 2.5k voters 61.7k 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
841 182
John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

2
691 147
Charlie Parker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Jazz, Bebop

3
424 126
Sonny Rollins is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz

4
356 115
Cannonball Adderley is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Hard bop, Jazz fusion, Jazz

5
303 98
Dexter Gordon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Hard bop, Jazz

6
288 93
Lester Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

7
372 131
Stan Getz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Cool jazz, Jazz, West Coast jazz

8
271 98
Wayne Shorter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Crossover jazz, Third stream, Hard bop

9
328 126
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
193 60
Sonny Stitt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
J√°litonFerreira added Hard bop, Jazz, Bebop

11
282 104
Paul Desmond is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, West Coast jazz

12
215 72
Joe Henderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

13
243 86
Coleman Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Swing music, Bebop

14
177 58
Ben Webster is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

15
145 43
Johnny Hodges is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Ballad, Swing music

16
169 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
159 54
Hank Mobley is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

18
144 46
Art Pepper is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Joe Kaestner added Cool jazz, Hard bop, Post-bop

19
163 57
Eric Dolphy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Third stream, Post-bop

20
175 70
Ornette Coleman is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Avant-garde jazz, Jazz fusion, Free funk

21
119 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
72 17
Chris Potter is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Deaver added

23
126 61
Joshua Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

24
108 49
Pharoah Sanders is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time
Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, World fusion music

25
90 37
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