Jazz Musicians

Throughout history, there have been many Jazz musicians, who have made significant contribution to the field of Jazz music. The list includes many familiar and great Jazz musicians such as Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, Phil Collins and Louis Armstrong.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
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Famous As: Trumpeter
Birthdate: August 4, 1901
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: July 6, 1971

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter and singer who played an important role in the development of jazz. Thanks to his playing, trumpet became known as a solo instrument and jazz, which was previously known as a collectively improvised folk music, became a soloist's art form. Not surprisingly, Louis Armstrong is widely accepted as the embodiment of jazz. 

 2 Miles Davis

Miles Davis
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Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 
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 3 Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 7, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: July 17, 1959
Jazz legend Billie Holiday had a tumultuous childhood and ended up in prison due to prostitution. Upon her release, at 14, she started singing using her pseudonym and performed at sold-out Carnegie Hall shows. Nicknamed Lady Day, she was riddled with alcohol and drug issues. She won four posthumous Grammys.

 4 Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 16, 1990
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 5 Tom Waits

Tom Waits
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Actor
Birthdate: December 7, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Tom Waits is a musician and songwriter. His lyrics, which are delivered in his trademark gravelly voice, often focus on the underbelly of society. His story of being born in a middle-class family to becoming one of the greatest songwriters of all time serves as an inspiration to many. He has also influenced several musicians and attained a cult following.

 6 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

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 7 Don Shirley

Don Shirley
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Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Jamaican, American
Died: April 6, 2013
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 8 Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana
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Birthdate: July 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

Guitarist Carlos Santana rose to fame in the late 1960s and 1970s with his rock band Santana. He introduced elements of Latin American jazz in his rock music to create unique songs. He is the recipient of ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone magazine listed him on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists in 2015.

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 9 Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin
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Famous As: Singer, Actor, Jazz musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: December 20, 1973

 10 Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Pianist, Writer, Songwriter, Jazz musician
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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 11 Anni-Frid Lyngstad

Anni-Frid Lyngstad
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Norwegian, Swedish

 12 Neil Peart

Neal Peart
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Famous As: Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 12, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Canadian
Died: January 7, 2020

Neil Peart was a Canadian songwriter, author, and musician. Best known as the drummer of the popular rock band Rush, Peart was nicknamed The Professor for his technical proficiency. In 1983, Neil Peart became the youngest person ever to be inducted into the Modern Drummer publication's Readers Poll Hall of Fame.

 13 Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist and Bandleader
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: May 24, 1974
Jazz legend Duke Ellington managed his orchestra till his death, and over a 6-decade-long career. He is known for his collaborations with legends such as pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. He termed his music “American music” and refused to attach any category to it. He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

 14 Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend
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Famous As: Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: May 19, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

Pete Townshend is an English guitarist, composer, and singer. He is credited with co-founding and leading one of the most influential and important rock bands of the 20th century, The Who. Also an influential guitarist, Pete Townshend was ranked 10th in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time list published in 2011.

 15 Buckethead

Buckethead
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Famous As: Guitarist, Composer, Banjoist, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist
Birthdate: May 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 16 Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Gary Burghoff is an American actor who is credited with originating the popular role of Charlie Brown in the 1967 Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He is also known for originating the role of Walter Eugene O'Reilly in the 1970 black comedy war movie MASH and the popular TV series of the same name.

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 17 Ginger Baker

Ginger Baker
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Famous As: Drummer, Jazz musician, Musician, Songwriter
Birthdate: August 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

 18 Kyle Eastwood

Kyle Eastwood
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Famous As: Actor, Composer, Jazz musician, Music arranger, Jazz guitarist, Film score composer
Birthdate: May 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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 19 Chet Baker

Chet Baker
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Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: December 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: May 13, 1988

Chet Baker was an American vocalist and jazz trumpeter. He achieved recognition during the 1950s and his innovations within cool jazz, a style of modern jazz music, earned him the nickname prince of cool. However, his drug addiction overshadowed much of his professional achievements. His life and work inspired the 2015 drama film Born to Be Blue.

 20 Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: June 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

English drummer, Charlie Watts, is best known as a member of the band Rolling Stones. He has been associated with the group for almost 60 years. He began his career as a graphic designer for an advertising company and played with bands in his leisure time. He eventually started drumming full time with Rolling Stones.

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 21 Martin Kemp

Martin Kemp
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Famous As: Actor, Musician
Birthdate: October 10, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 22 Kenny G

Kenny G
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Famous As: Saxophonist
Birthdate: June 5, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G, is a best-selling jazz saxophonist who has sold over 75 million records and even owns a line of saxophones. He is also a certified pilot and a skilled golfer who has participated in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am seven times.

 23 Richard Wright

Richard Wright
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: September 15, 2008

 24 Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy
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Famous As: Singer, Jazz musician
Birthdate: February 2, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: November 2, 1996
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 25 Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
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Famous As: Singer & Musician
Birthdate: November 27, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: September 18, 1970

One of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century, Jimi Hendrix began playing guitar at the age of 15. As his career progressed, he became the first musician to use stereophonic phasing effects in recordings. Rolling Stone ranked him as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time. He died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27.

 26 Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 27 George Harrison

George Harrison
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: February 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: November 29, 2001

Gaining fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band, the Beatles, English musician, George Harrison, helped broaden the scope of popular music in the Western world. He was also successful as a solo performer and released many best-selling albums. He was named in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time

 28 Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 29 Phil Collins

Phil Collins
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Famous As: Drummer
Birthdate: January 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British

Phil Collins is best known for his work with the popular rock band Genesis. Having sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, he is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Phil is one of three recording artists who have sold more than 100 million records both as principal members of a band and as solo artists.

 30 Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius
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Famous As: Bassist, Composer, Jazz musician, Bandleader
Birthdate: December 1, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: September 21, 1987

 31 Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: April 29, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

An accomplished musician and one of the most popular names of the late 20th century American country music, Willie Nelson garnered fame with his albums Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger, Stardust and Always on My Mind. The multiple Grammy award winning musician, who continues to record even today, has also appeared in numerous films and authored a number of books.

 32 Thundercat

Thundercat
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 19, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 33 Rita Coolidge

Rita Coolidge
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: May 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 34 Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: April 2, 1987

 35 Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk
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Famous As: Jazz Pianist & Composer
Birthdate: October 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: February 17, 1982

Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer who was noted for his unorthodox approach and idiosyncrasy during his performance. Mentored by Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk contributed to bebop and was associated with Columbia and Riverside labels. His run-in with the police affected his performance after his New York City Cabaret Card was confiscated following the discovery of narcotics in a car.

 36 Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British

Mick Taylor soared to fame as the guitarist of iconic rock band The Rolling Stones. He has also been part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Named to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, he was also declared one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

 37 Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: French
Died: May 16, 1953
Belgian-born Romani-French jazz musician Jean Reinhardt was better known by his nickname Django. Some of his most celebrated composition were Belleville and Swing '42. Though he died at 43, he influenced an entire generation of musicians, which led to annual Django Festivals, a film, and a biography.

 38 Chick Corea

Chick Corea
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Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Jazz musician
Birthdate: June 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 39 Julie London

Julie London
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Famous As: Actor, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Jazz musician, Character actor, Stage actor, Television actor
Birthdate: September 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: October 18, 2000

 40 Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 31, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Herb Alpert is an American trumpeter who achieved popularity in the 1960s when he led the band Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. He is also credited with co-founding A&M Records. Also a well-known philanthropist, Alpert launched the Herb Alpert Foundation in the 1980s in an attempt to deal with environmental issues and support youth and arts education.

 41 Rachael MacFarlane

Rachael MacFarlane
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Famous As: Voice actor, Unit production manager, Writer, Actor, Jazz musician, Singer
Birthdate: March 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 42 Ralph Tresvant

Ralph Tresvant
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 43 Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce
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Famous As: Composer, Singer, Jazz musician, Diarist, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 14, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: October 25, 2014

 44 Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Pianist, Jazz musician, Guitarist
Birthdate: November 21, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 45 Donald Fagen

Donald Fagen
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Pianist
Birthdate: January 10, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 46 Lea DeLaria

Lea DeLaria
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Famous As: Actor, Jazz musician, Singer, Stage actor, Television actor
Birthdate: May 23, 1958
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

 47 Tevin Campbell

Tevin Campbell
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 12, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 48 George Benson

George Benson
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Famous As: Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter, Jazz musician, Composer, Jazz guitarist
Birthdate: March 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 49 Walter Becker

Walter Becker
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Famous As: Guitarist, Songwriter, Jazz musician, Jazz guitarist, Record producer, Composer
Birthdate: February 20, 1950
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 50 Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzy Gillespie
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Famous As: Bandleader
Birthdate: October 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: January 6, 1993

Jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and singer Dizzy Gillespie developed the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge, modifying it with innovative harmony and rhythm. He popularized the bebop style of music and was famous for his signature horn-rimmed spectacles. His contribution to modern jazz earned him the title of the Ambassador of Jazz.

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