Top 31 Greatest Jazz Songs With Saxophone Solo of All Time (updated 2023)

Are you a fan of great jazz music featuring the saxophone? This list of the top, greatest jazz songs featuring a saxophone of all time is sure to please!

1. “Alter Ego” by Roy Hargrove

“Alter Ego” by Roy Hargrove is one of the best jazz saxophone solos. With its swinging tempo and driving rhythm, this track keeps listeners grooving from start to finish thanks to Hargrove’s masterful skill.

Although originally written as part of an album in 1997, it has since become a classic hit among today’s jazz musicians and audiences alike.

2.  “Little Sheri” by Stanley Turrentine

Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine’s classic jazz song “Little Sheri” is a must-have for any jazz enthusiast.

This bluesy piece features an intricate melody and dynamic solos from Turrentine, making it one of the best saxophone songs in jazz.

With its slow and soulful approach, this timeless track perfectly captures the emotion of its genre.

3. “Peace” by Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman’s “Peace” is one of the greatest jazz songs to feature a saxophone.

Through its distinctive and nuanced improvisation, it captures the spirit of ’50s and ’60s-era jazz in its soaring heights, mellow moments, and overall purposeful groove.

Listeners everywhere can now enjoy this classic piece featuring Coleman’s signature sound through his iconic tenor saxophone playing.

4. “Oh Lady Be Good” by Charlie Parker

“Oh Lady Be Good” is one of the most beloved jazz songs featuring saxophone by the legendary Charlie Parker.

The up-tempo piece has remained a fan-favorite for generations and is considered a staple in the jazz genre.

With its breathtaking solos, energetic rhythm, and classic melody, “Oh Lady Be Good” effortlessly captures the essence of truly great jazz music and remains one of the genre’s best remembered masterpieces.

5. “Love For Sale” by Eddie Harris

Eddie Harris’s “Love For Sale” is a jazzy saxophone song. It features an upbeat, swinging melody combined with smooth saxophone solos and underpinning accompaniment from bass and drums.

An uplifting and evocative piece, it captures the spirit of love in its gentle velvety tones. It is the perfect soundtrack for any romantic evening.

6. “’ll Remember April” by Lee Kontiz

Originally composed by Gene DePaul in 1944, “I’ll Remember April” has been a popular jazz standard ever since.

As recorded by American pianist Lee Konitz, the song features some of his virtuosic saxophone playing as well as an energetic rhythm section.

A swinging and passionate interpretation, this version of ‘I’ll Remember April’ is sure to be enjoyed by any fan of classic jazz music on the saxophone!

7. “Round Midnight” by Eric Dolphy

“Round Midnight” is a critically acclaimed jazz composition written by US composer and arranger George Russell.

This piece, which made its debut in 1954, has been widely interpreted by countless jazz musicians over the years, including those who play the saxophone.

Its slow and nostalgic melody makes it a memorable and timeless classic among the greats of jazz.

8. “Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins

“Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins is a jazz classic that exemplifies the power of the saxophone.

Composed in 1939, this song has been covered by numerous artists including John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Tony Bennett.

The jazz solo saxophone part is considered to be one of the greatest instrumental improvisations ever recorded in jazz music.

9. “Deluge” by Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter’s “Deluge” is a classic jazz song that boasts a dynamic sound featuring a prominent saxophone line.

The track is from one of Shorter’s earliest albums and is sure to leave any listener feeling enchanted by its powerful, driving rhythm.

Saxophone soloists across genres are inspired by “Deluge,” making it one of the most widely renowned jazz songs featuring the saxophone.

10. “Your Lady” by John Coltrane

John Coltrane’s “Your Lady” is an iconic jazz song that features a prominent saxophone solo.

It is widely considered to be one of the greatest jazz songs with saxophone and is often cited as an example of Coltrane’s masterful improvisational approach to jazz.

The song features a simple but powerful melody, which serves as a perfect backdrop for the dynamic saxophone riffs. Enjoy diving into the world of jazz music with Coltrane’s “Your Lady”!

11. “Koko” by Charlie Parker

“Koko” by Charlie Parker is considered to be one of the greatest jazz songs ever recorded featuring the saxophone.

Written in 1945, this classic tune is beloved for its intricate melodies and improvisation which has made it a favorite among jazz fans over the decades.

Led by Charlie’s solo improvisation on the alto saxophone, “Koko” stands as one of his most memorable compositions and an iconic reminder of his genius at playing the instrument.

12. “Eternal Triangle” by Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt

The renowned jazz song, “Eternal Triangle” by the legendary saxophonist’s Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt, is considered one of the greatest jazz songs of all-time featuring a saxophone.

The track fuses blues, bebop, and swing styles in a unique and magnetic way that resonates with listeners to this day.

13. “Cotton Tail” by Ben Webster

“Cotton Tail” by Ben Webster is one of the greatest jazz songs featuring the saxophone.

Written and composed by Duke Ellington, the song has become an iconic classic in the jazz genre.

Featuring a playful swing feel, the track features Ben Webster’s soulful take on the alto saxophone through eight timbres that take listeners on a journey of pure improvisation.

Its infectious energy and distinct melodic playing have made it one of the most recognizable jazz standards to date.

14. “Here’s That Rainy Day” by Stan Getz

Considered to be one of the greatest jazz songs ever recorded on saxophone, “Here’s That Rainy Day” was composed by Johnny Burke with music by Jimmy Van Heusen.

The urban jazz ballad brilliantly crafted by Stan Getz showcases his signature melodic articulations and tones, which eventually led him to become known as “The Sound”.

Later covered by storied artists such as Miles Davis, this classic instrumental is sure to transport listeners through time and space.

15. “Big City Blues” by Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan’s Big City Blues is one of the greatest jazz songs featuring the saxophone.

The song, composed by Mulligan himself, features both his creative use of saxophone and piano, as well as a simple yet memorable melody.

Whether listened to in isolation or accompanying a lively ensemble, this classic tune is sure to leave listeners deeply impressed.

16. “Just Friends” by Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker’s timeless classic “Just Friends” is widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz songs featuring a saxophone solo.

The bebop gem written by John Klenner and Sam M. Lewis has become a staple of jazz clubs, with its melody memorable and joyous.

Charlie Parker’s lyrics and improvisation capture the freedom of improvisational jazz in perfect harmony, cementing “Just Friends” in the canon of all-time great jazz songs.

17.  “Autumn Leaves” by Cannonball Adderley

Written by French composer and pianist Joseph Kosma, “Autumn Leaves” is an all-time classic jazz standard famously covered in 1959 by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley.

This timeless track features Adderley’s sultry saxophone backed by a swinging rhythm section and infectious energy, making it one of the greatest jazz songs ever to feature a saxophone.

18.  “Theme For Ernie” by John Coltrane

Composed in 1958, “Theme For Ernie” by John Coltrane is one of the most influential jazz songs ever to feature a saxophone.

This powerful instrumental ballad became an instant hit and made saxophone-driven jazz popular amongst all fans of jazz music.

An iconic piece that will remain timeless, this classic track cements its place in history as one of the greatest jazz songs with a saxophone.

19. “Stairway To The Stars” by Dexter Gordon

“Stairway To The Stars” by Dexter Gordon is one of the greatest jazz songs featuring a saxophone solo.

Written in 1938, Dexter Gordon’s solo on this track is widely considered to be one of the key examples of funky and soulful jazz playing.

His creativity, skill, and musicianship come together in this song to create an unforgettable piece that captures the essence of jazz.

20.  “I Can’t Get Started” by Lester Young

The iconic jazz ballad “I Can’t Get Started” by saxophonist Lester Young is one of the most beloved and influential saxophone songs of all time.

Recorded in 1937, it features Young’s distinct bluesy sound on the tenor sax, accompanied by a small jazz ensemble.

The song has become a standard among musicians and remains one of the most recorded jazz tunes ever.

21. “Lover Man” by Sonny Stitt

“Lover Man” by saxophonist Sonny Stitt is widely considered one of the best jazz songs to feature the saxophone.

Stitt delivers an emotional and powerful performance in this song, making it a must-listen for all jazz fans.

His use of long solos and deep tonality provide an impressive showcase of musical prowess that solidifies him as one of the greatest saxophonists in history.

22.  “St Thomas” by Sonny Rollins

Sonny Rollins’s iconic jazz song “St Thomas” features an upbeat melody and a catchy saxophone solo, making it one of the most memorable and recognizable jazz tunes.

The lively tune will get your feet and your heart singing with its toe-tapping rhythm and catchy saxophone solos.

A must-have for any budding jazz enthusiast, “St Thomas” is an essential track for fans looking for good jazz songs featuring the saxophone.

23. “Escher Sketch” by Michael Brecker

“Escher Sketch” is an exemplary jazz song composed and performed by the legendary Michael Brecker on saxophone.

This timeless masterwork, full of intricate melodies and impressive sax solos, has become a staple of the genre and a favorite for all those who appreciate good jazz music.

24. “Footprints” by Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” is an iconic jazz song that showcases the skill of the saxophone.

Featuring tantalizing sax melodies and masterful instrumental solos, this song is one of the best examples of why jazz can be so captivating to listen to.

With a catchy rhythm and entrancing musical passages, this piece will surely have you energized and mesmerized at the same time!

25. “O Grande Amor” by Stan Getz

“O Grande Amor”, a classic jazz song arranged and performed by American saxophonist Stan Getz, has been long celebrated as one of the greatest jazz songs featuring saxophone.

With a soft and calming melody that is perfectly balanced with the unique sound of Getz’s saxophone playing, the song has charmed generations of fans.

26. “Tenderly” by Ben Webster

The timeless classic “Tenderly” by Ben Webster is a must-hear for anyone looking to experience the best jazz songs with saxophone.

Boasting an alluring melody accompanied by the expert improvisation of one of history’s greatest saxophonists, “Tenderly” will leave your head spinning, even after several listens!

Richly arranged and featuring a simple but potent structure, this song remains one of the most beautiful examples of jazz music today.

27. “Soul Station” by Hank Mobley

“Soul Station” by Hank Mobley is often regarded as one of the best saxophone jazz songs.

Composed by Mobley and originally released in 1960, this classic track has been praised for its soulful melodies and intricate grooves.

The sonic interplay between tenor saxophonist Mobley and drummer Art Blakey creates a captivating atmosphere that continues to inspire jazz lovers to this day.

28. “I Love You” by John Coltrane

Saxophonist John Coltrane’s classic jazz ballad, “I Love You,” is a timeless love song featuring a beautiful tenor sax melody.

The track features the legendary jazz ensemble of the same name and was released as part of the 1959 compilation album Giant Steps.

This beloved jazz track has gone on to become one of Coltrane’s most iconic songs, with its mesmerizing saxophone lines and heartfelt lyrics.

29. “Oh Lady Be Good” by Zoot Sims

Zoot Sims had the jazz world buzzing with his hit song “Oh Lady Be Good”.

With its jazzy saxophone solo and smooth melodies, it quickly became a favorite among listeners. An icon of American jazz, Zoot Sims was renowned for his masterful saxophone playing and often blended blues, funk, and improv into his musical stretches.

He was one of the most influential jazz artists of the 20th century and this song is a perfect example of the combination of elements that made him so beloved.

30. “Canadian Sunset” by Gene Ammons

An iconic jazz ballad, “Canadian Sunset” by Gene Ammons features a sweet alto saxophone jazz solo melody that captures the beauty and emotion of the North.

This classic song has been enjoyed by listeners all around the world since its release in 1956 and continues to be one of the most beloved jazz saxophone songs of all time.

31. “Indian Summer” by Johnny Hodges

Johnny Hodges is renowned as one of the masters of jazz saxophone solo playing and his signature track “Indian Summer” boasts intricate and smooth lines that capture the feeling of a summer day.

The track features mellow yet upbeat melodies cooked up by Johnny’s skillful solos and expresses an unparalleled warmth that makes it a must-have in any jazz song collection.

FAQ

Here are the questions and answers related to the best jazz songs with saxophone:

Does jazz music have a saxophone?

Yes, the saxophone is a common instrument in jazz music. The distinctive sound of the saxophone is heavily associated with jazz, and it has become an integral part of the genre’s sound. It is used as both a lead, accompaniment, and rhythm instrument.

Who is the most famous jazz saxophone player?

The most famous jazz saxophone player of all time is John Coltrane. He was a highly influential and innovative musician who is considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time.

He played in many different styles, from bebop to hard bop, with a unique sound and style that has been an inspiration to generations of musicians since.

What saxophone is used in jazz?

The most commonly used saxophones for playing jazz are the alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone. Other styles of saxophones, like the sopranino and soprano, are sometimes used as well.

What is the jazziest instrument?

The jazziest instrument has to be the saxophone; its full, versatile sound and ability to play a variety of styles make it an indispensable part of any jazz ensemble.

Trumpets and trombones also have defining roles in jazz music, while the guitar, piano and drums are essential components as well.

 

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