Saxophone-players Yamaha yas275

Famous Saxophone Players

Just who are the most famous saxophone players? Who can be called the most famous of famous sax players? Well I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Below are a few choice ones for you.

Do you call them famous sax players because of their ability or is it entirely dependant upon what saxophone songs or tunes they've recorded?

Is it down to public choice because of mainstream playing or is it down to pushing the boundaries? Saxophone players are plentiful but famous saxophone players, well, that comes down to what you listen to and what the public like.

As an example, we've pretty much all heard of the Pink Panther but do we know who played it originally? It was of course Plas Johnson. But how many of us knew that?

Famous Saxophone Players

Or what about Yakety Sax? Most of the older generation and some of the younger ones will know this as the 'Benny Hill' theme tune. And the name of the saxophone player is...? Well if you didn't know, it's Boots Randolph, for the original version at least.

I've started to list some of the famous saxophone players I can think of. I think I may have gone down the Tenor route. It may take time to finish but I'll build it up as and when I can.

They are in no particular order because it's all about individual taste when it's comes down to who is the best. Please feel free to give input as to which famous saxophone players you think should be on the list or even who you think shouldn't be there.


Famous Saxophone Players

  • Coleman Hawkins - Born 21st Nov 1904 - Died 19th May 1969.

  • 'Cannonball' Adderley - Born 15th Sept 1928 - Died 8th Aug 1975

  • Stan 'Getz' - Born 2nd Feb 1927 - Died 6th June 1991. More...

  • Paul 'Desmond' - Born 25th Nov 1924 Died - 30th May 1977

  • 'Plas' Johnson - Born July 21st 1931 - Still here! More...

  • Michael Brecker - Born 29 March 1949 - Died 13th Jan 2007

  • Charlie Parker - Born 19 August 1920 - Died 12th March 1955

  • Grover Washington Jr - Born 12th Dec 1943 - Died 17th Dec 1999

  • 'Boots' Randolph - Born 3rd June 1927 - Died 3rd July 2007

  • Sonny Rollins - Born 7th Sept 1930 - Still here!

  • 'King Curtis' Born 7th Feb 1934 - Died 13th Aug 1971

  • John Coltrane - Born 23rd Sept 1926 - Died 17 July 1967

  • Lester Young - Born 27th Aug 1909 - Died 15th Mar 1959

  • Ornette Coleman - Born 9th March 1930 - Still here!

  • Clarence Clemons - Born 11th Jan 1942 - Died - 18th June 2011


Other Saxophone Players

Of course there are many, many more sax players out there.

Who is on a definitive list is usually dependant upon who is compling the list

Such things as records made, boundaries pushed, general infamy and famous tunes made will always have an effect on who we call famous.

Then you have to consider the possibilty that one of their tunes may be taken up by someone else and pushed into the limelight.

Famous Sax Players List Info

The inverted commas indicate an assumed name.

There are many more famous saxophone players who I will add as I go along. Don't forget, if there is someone you know and think they should be on the list then let us know.

One or two of them can be heard if you go to the saxophone songs page along with some others. If we can get sounds for them we will list them so you can listen. It may help you to hone your sound and give you something to aim for. Who knows, maybe one day you will be called the greatest saxophone player and be listed among the famous saxophone players.

Other Saxophone Players

If you want to nominate a player please use this link for saxophone players nominations.

We welcome all nominations but all will be checked to see if they do actually exist so please don't just nominate the person next door.

Whether or not they go on the famous saxophone players list will depend upon how many nominations they receive. So get nominating!


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Plas Johnson

Learn a little about Plas Johnson.

Without Plas' dark tones would the Pink Panther be quite as famous as it is?

Fingering Charts

From bottom B to top F you'll find a fingering chart for all the keying positions right here.

fingering chart

So relax and take your time to study and learn all the positions necessary to utilise the full range of your sax.

Stan Getz

Learn a little about Stan Getz.

Stan Getz. Is he just the coolest of the cool in the famous saxophone players list. Read a bit about Stan the man.

Famous Sax Songs

Listen to some well known sax songs.

A list of songs for you to listen to. Some famous, some not so famous. The one thing is common is the use of the saxophone



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