The Most Famous Jazz Pianists: Celebrating the Legends

Choose the jazz pianist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 5, 2023 10:25)
Welcome to StrawPoll's spotlight on the world of jazz, where we're tickling the ivories to bring you an exclusive ranking of the most famous jazz pianists of all time! Get ready to dive into the mesmerizing realm of syncopation, improvisation, and soul-stirring melodies as our contenders jostle for the top spot on our leaderboard. From the smoky speakeasies of the Roaring Twenties to modern-day jazz clubs, these virtuosos have shaped the course of music history by serenading us with their unparalleled artistry. Cast your vote for your all-time favorite or suggest a missing maestro who deserves a place in the limelight. Join us on this melodious journey and let your fingers do the talking as we unveil the crème de la crème of jazz pianists, all waiting for your applause!

Who Are the Most Famous Jazz Pianists?

  1. 1
    Thelonious Monk
    William P. Gottlieb · Public domain
    Monk is considered one of the most influential jazz pianists of all time due to his unique style, use of dissonance, and unconventional approach to improvisation. He is known for classics like "Round Midnight" and "Blue Monk."
    Thelonious Monk in other rankings
  2. 2
    Bill Evans
    Brianmcmillen · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Evans is known for his introspective and melodic approach to jazz piano, and is considered one of the most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century. He is known for his work on albums like "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" and "Waltz for Debby."
    Bill Evans in other rankings
  3. 3
    Duke Ellington
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    While known primarily as a composer and bandleader, Ellington was also an accomplished pianist and arranger. He is known for classics like "Take the A Train" and "Mood Indigo."
    Duke Ellington in other rankings
  4. 4
    Hancock is known for his innovative use of synthesizers and fusion of jazz with funk and rock. He is a 14-time Grammy winner and is known for classics like "Watermelon Man" and "Cantaloupe Island."
    Herbie Hancock in other rankings
  5. 5
    Peterson was known for his virtuosic technique and ability to play at high speeds with ease. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and is known for classics like "C Jam Blues" and "Hymn to Freedom."
  6. 6
    Art Tatum
    William P. Gottlieb · Public domain
    Tatum was known for his incredible speed, technical proficiency, and ability to improvise complex harmonies. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and is known for classics like "Tea for Two" and "Tiger Rag."
    Art Tatum in other rankings
  7. 7
    Keith Jarrett
    Published by ABC/Impulse! Records. Photographer uncredited and unknown. · Public domain
    Jarrett is known for his improvisational approach to jazz piano, often playing entire concerts of improvised music. He is known for albums like "The Köln Concert" and "Standards, Vol. 1."
  8. 8
    Powell was known for his bebop style of playing and his use of fast, complex runs. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time and is known for classics like "Bouncing with Bud" and "Un Poco Loco."
  9. 9
    Chick Corea
    Tore Sætre · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Corea was known for his fusion of jazz with Latin and rock music, and for his virtuosic technique on the piano. He is a 23-time Grammy winner and is known for classics like "Spain" and "500 Miles High."
    Chick Corea in other rankings
  10. 10
    Tyner was known for his powerful, percussive playing style and for his work in John Coltrane's classic quartet. He is known for classics like "A Love Supreme" and "Passion Dance."

Missing your favorite jazz pianist?


Ranking factors for famous jazz pianists

  1. Innovation
    A great jazz pianist is often someone who has brought something new and unique to the genre, whether it be a new style of playing or an innovative approach to harmonies and chord progressions.
  2. Technical skill
    Jazz piano requires a high level of technical skill, including mastery of scales, chords, and improvisation. The best pianists are often those who are technically impressive.
  3. Recordings
    A pianist's recorded output can also be a crucial factor in their fame. Artists who have produced hit records or landmark albums tend to be more well-known.
  4. Performance
    Finally, a jazz pianist's live performances and reputation as a performer can also contribute to their fame. Pianists who have made a name for themselves through their electrifying live shows or their virtuosic technique are often remembered and revered.

About this ranking

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


  • 191 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

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


More information on most famous jazz pianists

Jazz piano has long been a staple of the genre, with some of the most iconic musicians in history being jazz pianists. From the early days of jazz to the modern era, the piano has played a crucial role in shaping the sound and evolution of the genre. Some of the most famous jazz pianists have left an indelible mark on music history, with their unique styles and virtuosic performances influencing generations of musicians to come. Today, jazz pianists continue to push the boundaries of the genre, creating new sounds and styles that keep the music fresh and exciting. Join us as we explore the world of jazz piano and the most famous pianists who have made their mark on this iconic genre.

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