READ List of Famous Jazz Musicians

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List of famous jazz musicians, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top jazz musicians in the world? This includes the most prominent jazz musicians, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable jazz musicians is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic jazz musicians 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 musicians.

List features John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and more.

From reputable, prominent, and well known jazz musicians to the lesser known jazz musicians of today, these are some of the best professionals in the jazz musician field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous jazz musicians ever?" and "What are the names of famous jazz musicians?" then you're in the right place. (101 items)
Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Jazz Musicians
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 architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace synthesizers and funk music. Hancock's music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs "cross over" and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of ...more

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John Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Jazz Musicians
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 leader during his career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most ...more

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Dizzy Gillespie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Jazz Musicians
Photo: Freebase/GNU Free Documentation License

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 ended up copying Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, and it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was successfully recreated [...] Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time." Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of ...more

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Thelonious Monk is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Jazz Musicians
Photo: Freebase

Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Ruby, My Dear," "In Walked Bud," and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than 1,000 pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70. His compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations. He ...more

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