Our Top 10 Favourite Saxophonists music-647921_640

The world is full of stunning saxophonists. Lists of the all-time greats often feature names such as Coltrane and Brecker, but there are plenty of worth saxophonists to add to the company of these greats.

When it comes to our favourite saxophonists, these ten definitely deserve a mention.

Richie Cole

Richie Cole might be a bit of a bad boy in the jazz circles, but his playing skills are top notch. Cole is passionate about the instrument and has spent a lot of time helping others master the instrument as well.

The fact that Cole is still playing is definitely notable. The musician was born in 1948 so he has plenty of experience all new players can learn from.

Andy Sheppard

Sheppard is among the biggest British names in the saxophone scene of today. He has been creating stunning sounds in the international jazz scene, working with big names and publishing his own stuff.

Sheppard’s technical skills with the saxophone are world-renowned. If you want to add more technique to your own playing, then Sheppard’s sax lesson series at ProMusic Tutor are an absolute must-have.

Sonny Criss

Sonny Criss had an amazing amount of swing in his tone. He was able to add so much passion and warmth to his sound that you couldn’t help but smile.

Unfortunately, Criss’ personal life ended in tragic circumstances. He committed suicide in 1977 after he’d been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The good thing is that his recordings still live on.

Chelsea Baratz

The industry is often dominated by male saxophonists, but there are stunning female saxophonists out there as well. One of them is the Pittsburgh talent, Chelsea Baratz. The young musician has added a lovely fresh tone to the world of sax in recent years.

Baratz’ style is a mixture of soul and swing, with plenty of contemporary hooks. You should definitely check out her stunning debut album ‘In Faith’.

Plas Johnson

You might not recognise the name, but you’ll certainly recognise the Pink Panther theme. Johnson played the tenor part in the world famous tune, but he’s not always received the recognition he deserved.

Johnson has played with amazing artists, such as B. B. King and Johnny Otis. His unique talent can be heard in a number of albums. Perhaps the most influential of them is the1964 ‘Blue Martini’, which really changed the way saxophone was used in music.

James Morton

Many saxophonists start at an early age and this was also the case with James Morton. Morton picked his saxophone at the age of eight and he has since become a leading voice of today’s generation of saxophonists.

Morton hasn’t just played with other big stars in the scene, such as Pee Wee Ellis and Andy Sheppard, but also with big contemporary stars like Kasabian. He has a funky and unique style that is worth checking out.

Marcus Strickland

Strickland has taken the saxophone industry by storm and he has produced a number of great albums you should listen. He made his debut in the industry in 2001and he has since been part of a number of great collaborations as well as solo work.

Strickland mainly performs with his band Twi-Life, but he can be heard as a wingman for many jazz and soul artists. His playing is definitely a master display of powerful tunes.

Pee Wee Ellis

Pee Wee Ellis is the stunning saxophonist behind James Brown’s band in the 1960s. He can be heard in songs such as Cold Sweat, which Ellis also co-wrote with Brown.

Furthermore, this great talent has worked with Van Morrison. Although he is from the US, he fell in love with the beautiful Somerset region in his later years and has done a lot of work here in Britain.

Craig Crofton

One saxophonist who’s had the honour of playing with Pee Wee Ellis is Craig Crofton. Crofton isn’t just a support act either; he is definitely a saxophonist you should learn from.

Crofton has his own jazz quintet, which is touring around Britain and you should definitely see him play live. Crofton’s skill set is very smooth and flawless with his passion for the instrument present at every stage of the way.

Candy Dulfer

Finally, you should add a bit of Candy Dulfer to your playlist. The Dutch alto saxophonist received a Grammy nomination with her debut album ‘Saxuality’ and she has since done some stunning performances.

Dulfer’s playing is a lovely mixture of old time vibes and new fresh licks. It’s contemporary without forgetting the importance of the past. She is definitely a saxophonist who can teach you a trick or two about the instrument.

The above saxophonists are great to listen to, but each of them can also teach you something unique about the instrument. Remember that listening sax music is as important as practicing the actual playing is for skill development!

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