The Top 5 Modern Jazz Music Artists You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In a genre that’s constantly evolving, it can be hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in modern jazz. But never fear! We’re here to help with a list of five artists you need to know. From boundary-pushing experimentalists to traditionalists keeping the genre alive, these are the top five modern jazz music artists you need to know.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis was an American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical styles throughout his career, which included bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion.

John Coltrane

John Coltrane is considered one of the most important and influential saxophonists in jazz history. He was at the forefront of the free jazz movement of the 1960s and is remembered for his virtuosic playing and revolutionary music making.

Bill Evans

Bill Evans is widely considered one of the top jazz musicians of the 20th century. He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1929 and began playing piano at a young age. Evans was a prolific recording artist, and his best-known albums include “The Bill Evans Album” (1962), “Conversations with Myself” (1963), and “Waltz for Debby” (1964). He also played a significant role in the development of jazz fusion, with his later work incorporating elements of rock and pop music. Evans died in 1980 at the age of 51.

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk is one of the most important and influential figures in jazz history. A master of bebop, he was known for his distinctive piano playing and his unique compositional style. Monk’s music was marked by its complex harmonies, unusual melodic twists, and surprising rhythms. He is often considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time.

Cannonball Adderley

If you’re new to jazz music, there are a few artists you should get to know. Here are five modern jazz musicians that represent the genre in different ways and who are sure to get your toes tapping.

1. Cannonball Adderley
Adderley was a saxophonist known for his alto saxophone solos. He played with Miles Davis on the album “Kind of Blue” and also led his own groups. His style was soulful and bluesy, with a focus on improvisation.

2. Charles Mingus
Mingus was a bassist, composer, and bandleader who was known for his innovation and creativity. He created his own unique sound by blending together different styles of music, including bebop, blues, and gospel. Mingus is also considered one of the most important jazz musicians of the 20th century.

3. Miles Davis
Davis was a trumpeter, bandleader, and composer who helped to shape the sound of jazz music. He is best known for his work in the bebop and cool jazz genres, as well as for his pivotal role in the development of jazz fusion.

4. Thelonious Monk
Monk was a pianist and composer who was known for his unique style of playing which incorporated elements of stride piano and bebop. He also had a great influence on later generations of pianists such as Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.

5. John Coltrane
Coltrane was a saxophonist who was highly influential in the development of both hard bop and free Jazz. His style was characterized by its intense soulfulness and technical mastery.

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