The Best of Jazz Saxophone Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A great collection of the best jazz saxophone music from around the world.

The Different Types of Jazz Saxophone Music

There are many different types of Jazz saxophone music. From the early 1900s to present day, the saxophone has been a big part of jazz music. Early Jazz was known as New Orleans Jazz. This type of jazz was known for its improvisation and polyphonic ensemble playing.


Bebop is a style of jazz characterized by a fast tempo, complex harmonic structures, and often improvised solos. It developed in the 1940s and was one of the first styles of jazz to be performed on saxophone. Bebop is known for its unique sound, which combines the blues with African-American musical traditions. Bebop saxophonists such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were some of the most influential musicians of their time, and their music has had a lasting impact on the jazz world.

Big band

The big band era is often described as the “golden age” of jazz. It was a time when the popularity of swing music was at its peak and a new generation of jazz musicians were coming to the fore. Big bands were all the rage and saxophone players were in high demand.

One of the most popular types of big band was the dance band. These bands were typically made up of around 20 musicians and they would play for dances or balls. The music was often upbeat and lively, making it perfect for dancing. Some of the most famous dance bands of the time included Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and Benny Goodman’s Band.

Another type of big band was the symphonic band. These bands were usually made up of around 30 musicians and they tended to play more complex pieces than dance bands. Symphonic bands often featured soloists who would show off their virtuosity by playing complex solos over the top of the band’s accompaniment. Some of the most famous symphonic bands included Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra and NPR Symphonia.

Cool jazz

Cool jazz is a style of jazz that originated in the United States in the 1950s. It is characterized by a relaxed, smooth sound, and is often associated with the West Coast of the United States. The term “cool jazz” can be used to describe both a type of music and a period in jazz history.

The cool jazz style was developed by musicians such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, and Chet Baker. These musicians were influenced by earlier styles of jazz, such as bebop, but they also took inspiration from other genres, such as classical music. Cool jazz is often seen as a reaction against the hard-driving style of bebop.

Cool jazz recordings were typically made with small groups of musicians, and they often featured thoughtful, intricate solos. The music was usually less spontaneous than other types of jazz, and it often had a more polished sound.

Though cool jazz was popular in the 1950s, it fell out of favor in the 1960s. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in this style of music.

Hard bop

Hard bop is an approach to jazz characterized by a strong rhythm section, lots of improvisation, and a high energy level. It developed in the mid-1950s and reached its peak in the mid-1960s. Hard bop was a reaction against the smoother, more sophisticated style of bebop, which had dominated jazz in the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the artists who played hard bop were also influenced by blues and gospel music.

The Greatest Jazz Saxophone Songs of All Time

When it comes to Jazz saxophone, there are so many great songs out there. It’s hard to determine which ones are the best. However, there are a few that stand out above the rest. In this article, we will be discussing the greatest jazz saxophone songs of all time.

“Body and Soul”

“Body and Soul” is a popular standard composed by Johnny Green with lyrics by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour and Frank Eyton. It was published in 1930. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, but the first notable recording was probably that by Coleman Hawkins in 1939.

The tune is a jazz pop standard which has endured many interpretations over the years. The original lyrics were written in free verse and were not intended to be sung as they were meant to be improvised upon. In fact, the opening line of the song, “My heart belongs to daddy”, is an example of scat singing.

The main melody of “Body and Soul” is built on repeated arpeggios which descend in half steps. This catchy saxophone riff gives the tune its distinctive sound and makes it one of the most memorable melodies in all of jazz.

“My Funny Valentine”

“My Funny Valentine” is a 1937 show tune from the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a pop standard after being recorded by Chet Baker in 1954. It has been recorded by many other artists since, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Bublé, and Diana Krall.

The lyrics to “My Funny Valentine” are written from the perspective of a lovelorn man who has been hurt by his partner’s lack of reciprocation for his affections. He tries to rationalize his emotions by attributing his partner’s aloofness to the temporary effects of illness or stress, but he ultimately resigns himself to the fact that his love is unrequited.

Despite its seemingly sad subject matter, “My Funny Valentine” has often been interpreted as a lighthearted and playful song. This is likely due to its cheerful melody and the way in which the lyrics emphasize the positive qualities of the singer’s Valentine, even as they acknowledge her flaws.

“Take the ‘A’ Train”

“Take the ‘A’ Train” is a 1941 composition by Billy Strayhorn that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra. It is possibly the most famous of all jazz compositions and has been recorded by many artists. The tune is based on a rapid figure that outlines a trombone riff which was first play by Juan Tizol, who later turned it into a song called “Perdido”.

“Giant Steps”

“Giant Steps” is a jazz standard composed by John Coltrane. It was first recorded on the 1959 album Giant Steps and released as a single in 1960. The composition is notable for its fast tempo, key changes and challenging chord progression.

The song’s success helped propel Giant Steps to the top of the Billboard jazz chart, making it one of the most influential jazz albums of all time. “Giant Steps” has been covered by many artists, including Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and David Sanborn.

“So What”

One of the most popular and well known jazz songs, “So What” is a must for any jazz saxophone player. The melody is deceptively simple, but thesolos that Miles Davis and John Coltrane wrote for this tune are anything but easy. This is a great song to cut your teeth on if you’re just starting out playing jazz saxophone.

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