The Most Famous Jazz Composer: Recognizing Legendary Contributions

Choose the jazz composer you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 14, 2024 07:10
Welcome to StrawPoll, where we celebrate the vibrant and soulful world of jazz! We've curated a list of the most iconic jazz composers that have left an indelible mark on the music scene. We want to know who YOU think deserves the top spot! Will it be the legendary Duke Ellington or the innovative genius of Miles Davis? Or, perhaps, you have someone else in mind? Unleash your inner jazz enthusiast and cast your vote now, or suggest a name that's missing from our list. Join us in this melodic showdown and let's discover who will reign supreme as the most famous jazz composer of all time. With your help, we'll swing our way to the ultimate jazz maestro!

Who Is the Most Famous Jazz Composer?

  1. 1
    Duke Ellington
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Considered one of the most influential jazz composers and bandleaders of all time, Duke Ellington created over 1,000 compositions and arrangements over his career, including hits like "Take the A Train" and "Mood Indigo."
    Duke Ellington in other rankings
  2. 2
    Known for his innovative approach to jazz and his ability to blend different styles, Miles Davis is also a celebrated composer, with works like "So What" and "All Blues" becoming jazz standards.
    Miles Davis in other rankings
  3. 3
    Thelonious Monk
    William P. Gottlieb · Public domain
    A pianist and composer who helped shape the bebop and modern jazz movements, Thelonious Monk wrote iconic tunes like "Round Midnight" and "Epistrophy."
    Thelonious Monk in other rankings
  4. 4
    Charlie Parker
    William P. Gottlieb · Public domain
    A saxophonist and composer who helped pioneer bebop, Charlie Parker wrote many influential jazz tunes, including "Confirmation" and "Ornithology."
    Charlie Parker in other rankings
  5. 5
    A saxophonist and composer known for his spiritual and experimental approach to jazz, John Coltrane wrote many iconic compositions, including "Giant Steps" and "A Love Supreme."
    John Coltrane in other rankings
  6. 6
    Bill Evans
    Brianmcmillen · CC BY-SA 3.0
    A pianist and composer who helped pioneer the jazz trio format, Bill Evans wrote many influential compositions, including "Waltz for Debby" and "Blue in Green."
    Bill Evans in other rankings
  7. 7
    Jelly Roll Morton
    Photographer not credited. · Public domain
    A pianist and composer who helped shape the early days of jazz, Jelly Roll Morton wrote many popular tunes, including "Black Bottom Stomp" and "King Porter Stomp."
    Jelly Roll Morton in other rankings
  8. 8
    Benny Goodman
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    A clarinetist and bandleader who helped popularize swing music, Benny Goodman wrote many memorable jazz tunes, including "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Don't Be That Way."
    Benny Goodman in other rankings
  9. 9
    A pianist and bandleader who helped shape the sound of big band jazz, Count Basie wrote many classic compositions, including "One O'Clock Jump" and "April in Paris."
    Count Basie in other rankings
  10. 10
    A pianist and composer known for his unique time signatures and use of unusual rhythms, Dave Brubeck wrote many memorable jazz tunes, including "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk."
    Dave Brubeck in other rankings

Missing your favorite jazz composer?


Ranking factors for famous jazz composer

  1. Innovation and creativity
    One of the key factors that could be taken into account is the innovation and creativity of the composer. Jazz is a genre that is known for its improvisation, and composers who have contributed significantly to this aspect of the music should be considered.
  2. Influence on the genre
    The influence that a composer has had on the jazz genre and its evolution over time is another important factor. Composers who have pushed the genre in new directions or contributed to its growth and development should be recognized.
  3. Body of work
    The quality and quantity of a composer's body of work should also be considered, as this can give insight into their overall contribution to the genre.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous jazz composer. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or composer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 187 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each composer once every 24 hours. The rank of each composer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous jazz composer

Jazz is a beloved genre of music that has been around for over a century. It emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in African American communities in the Southern United States. Jazz is known for its improvisational style, complex rhythms, and use of various musical instruments. Jazz has produced many legendary artists and one of its most significant contributions to the world of music is the jazz composer. Jazz composers have played a crucial role in shaping the genre and creating some of the most iconic songs in the history of music. They have been responsible for creating arrangements, writing melodies, and producing music that has inspired generations of musicians. Some of the most famous jazz composers include Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Each of these composers has a unique style and approach to music, which has made them stand out from their peers. Duke Ellington is known for his sophisticated big band arrangements, while Charlie Parker's bebop style revolutionized the genre. Miles Davis was known for his innovative approach to jazz, and John Coltrane's spiritual jazz compositions have left a lasting impact on the genre. In conclusion, the world of jazz has produced some of the most significant composers in the history of music. Their contributions have shaped the genre and inspired generations of musicians. As we explore the most famous jazz composers, we can appreciate the rich legacy they have left behind and continue to celebrate their music today.

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