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List of famous jazz composers, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top jazz composers in the world? This includes the most prominent jazz composers, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable jazz composers is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic jazz composers were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned jazz composers.

List features people like Max Roach, John Coltrane and more!

From reputable, prominent, and well known jazz composers to the lesser known jazz composers of today, these are some of the best professionals in the jazz composer field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous jazz composers ever?" and "What are the names of famous jazz composers?" then you're in the right place. (17 items)
Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Jazz Composers
Photo:  Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years. Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward, and gained a national ...more

Age: Died at 75 (1899-1974)

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Pianist, Musician, Bandleader, Lyricist, + more

Credits: Anatomy of a Murder, Ă…dalen 31, Check and Double Check, Paris Blues, NET Playhouse, + more

Also Ranked

#18 on The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

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Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Jazz Composers
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. Starting his career with jazz legend Donald Byrd, he shortly thereafter joined the Miles Davis Quintet where Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary ...more

Age: 77

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Jazz Pianist, Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, + more

Credits: Donnie Brasco, Zoolander, Office Space, Death Wish

Also Ranked

#31 on The Greatest Flautists of All Time

#6 on The Best Organists in Rock and Jazz Today

#4 on The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

#13 on The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

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John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Jazz Composers
Photo: Freebase

John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane", was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He organized at least fifty recording sessions as a ...more

Age: Died at 41 (1926-1967)

Birthplace: USA, North Carolina, Hamlet

Profession: Songwriter, Saxophonist, Musician, Bandleader, Composer

Credits: Malcolm X^! Zodiac^! Kids^! Vanilla Sky

Also Ranked

#2 on The Greatest Saxophonists of All Time

#92 on The Most Beloved US Veterans

#2 on The Greatest Jazz Saxophonists of All Time

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Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Jazz Composers
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John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer and occasional singer. AllMusic's Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ...more

Age: Died at 76 (1917-1993)

Birthplace: Cheraw, South Carolina, United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Musician, Bandleader, Actor, Composer, + more

Credits: Stormy Weather, The Cool World, The Cosmic Eye, Jivin' in Be-Bop, My Universe Inside Out, + more

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