Coltrane’s sound for me, is just my favourite saxophone sound. His playing is intense in almost every way, but it never feels like he ever plays anything unnecessary. Above all, for me, everything he plays feels incredibly real and tangible.
Dexter has my second favourite sax sound, and it is arguably the hugest sound to ever come out of a tenor saxophone. His feel, language and approach are all just so hip, that for me, he is the archetype of straight ahead post bop sax playing.
For me, Wayne is, of saxophonists, the purest creative improviser. Everything he plays is honest, beautiful, and often unexpected. He plays and writes equally comfortably and uniquely across all the settings he’s worked in, from hard bop to post fusion through pop and his work with Joni Mitchell. He also has my favourite soprano sound.
More than anyone on this list, Brecker is the reason that I decided to switch to playing tenor sax from alto. He’s an exciting player with incredible technique, and played with so many huge names in the jazz and pop world that it’s almost easier to list who he didn’t play with rather than who he did!
Known more for his oddities than his serious jazz albums, Eddie Harris is often seen as an outsider to the pantheon of greats. He is a master of the blues, but plays it in his own unique style, quite unlike anyone else. His command of the altissimo register is second to none, and he often plays long intervallic phrases higher than most saxophonists would dare entertain as possible.