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Who has the all-time best (Jazz) Tenor Tone? Part II NEW 2021!

  • Dexter Gordon

    Votes: 38 26.6%
  • John Coltrane

    Votes: 22 15.4%
  • Sonny Rollins

    Votes: 19 13.3%
  • Stan Getz

    Votes: 30 21.0%
  • Joe Henderson

    Votes: 8 5.6%
  • Ben Webster

    Votes: 10 7.0%
  • Coleman Hawkins

    Votes: 5 3.5%
  • Don Byas

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Houston Person

    Votes: 2 1.4%
  • Chris Potter

    Votes: 3 2.1%
  • Gene Ammons

    Votes: 13 9.1%
  • Albert Ayler

    Votes: 3 2.1%
  • Boots Randolph

    Votes: 6 4.2%
  • Joshua Redman

    Votes: 9 6.3%
  • Wayne Shorter

    Votes: 2 1.4%
  • Zoot Sims

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Stanley Turrentine

    Votes: 19 13.3%
  • Ike Quebec

    Votes: 3 2.1%
  • Lester Young

    Votes: 5 3.5%
  • Michael Brecker

    Votes: 12 8.4%
  • Eric Alexander

    Votes: 6 4.2%
  • Johnny Griffin

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

    Votes: 5 3.5%
  • Illinois Jacquet

    Votes: 1 0.7%
  • Hank Mobley

    Votes: 2 1.4%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT 9/7 - You can now vote for TWO players in this poll, based on comments that people were having a hard time making a single choice. If you have already voted, you must select Change Vote in lower right of the poll. Then you will have to cast your vote (for up to two players) over again.

It looks like the first version of this thread was originally created 17 years ago -- so thought we could use a new one.

One of the posts from 10 years ago (2011) ranked the top vote getters over a 7 year period.

So I pulled the top 19 names from that list to create a new poll.

Keep in mind -- in keeping with the original thread -- which was not a poll and skewed toward straight ahead jazz tenor players based on the results -- this is also essentially a poll of the GOAT for JAZZ Tenor Sax Players.

Have fun!
 

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The tone I chased in my youth was Micheal Brecker’s; however, he’s not on the list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The tone I chased in my youth was Micheal Brecker’s; however, he’s not on the list.
Oddly enough, though he was surely mentioned in the original thread, he was not one of the top vote getters. Dexter got far and away the most votes at like 19 votes, and then several were tied with 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2.

As I said, I only included the 19 top vote getters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
'Ain't no sech animal.'
Many jazz players have great sounds and styles - there is no 'greatest'.
Yes, but these can still be fun. I think it's challenging to force yourself to pick that one player who YOU feel had the best tone of all time. I have a hard time doing it -- but it's between Coleman Hawkins and Zoot Sims for me.
 

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I don't classify 'greatest' but to me Stan Getz has my favorite tenor sax tone for jazz. But then my favorite style of jazz is cool-school.

I'd pick Turrentine as my second favorite. Quite different, but so appropriate to his personal style of playing.

There is no wrong answer in a poll like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I don't classify 'greatest' but to me Stan Getz has my favorite tenor sax tone for jazz. But then my favorite style of jazz is cool-school.

I'd pick Turrentine as my second favorite. Quite different, but so appropriate to his personal style of playing.

There is no wrong answer in a poll like this.
Yes. So Stan and Dexter are in the lead with four votes each. Not surprising at all as they have two of the most recognizable -- and loveliest -- tenor tones ever!

Kind of surprised that Coltrane and Joe Henderson haven't received a single vote yet.

And Sonny's only got one vote at this point.

Could it be that the stars of the two once unquestionable titans of the modern tenor -- Coltrane and Sonny -- have diminished somewhat in the last 20 years?

I do get the sense that there a lot more weekend blues/rock/bar players on here than when the original poll was done almost 20 years ago.

So maybe the average user on here doesn't even listen to these guys that much, or just doesn't even know that much about them....
 

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I would have given a different answer at the time of the original thread - probably Gordon or Rollins. Voted for Don Byas this time. I was hoping you had Buddy Tate or Arnett Cobb on there because they had great tone & get overlooked, but there are a lot of overlooked players!
 

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This is fun but there is no correct jazz tone. I think we mostly know that but as a reminder... There is no one "correct" tone.

Lester Young and John Coltrane are two of my favorites but their tone is very far apart (and both changed over time).
 

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Stan Getz gets my vote for the Sound. His tone is distinctive and my favorite by far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I casted my vote for Sonny. Dexter would be, for me a close 2nd.
Good news, folks!

I made two changes to the poll:

1) You can now vote for your TWO favorite picks for best tenor tone of all time! So you don't have to agonize over making just one choice!

So...if you already voted, you should be able to vote for a second tenorman.


But...if you already voted, you must click Change vote at the bottom right of the poll. Then you can place your votes for the two players of your choice.

2) In response to poster feedback, I added Michael Brecker ... and Eric Alexander to the mix.

Yes, I was realizing how long gone most of the choices are (not that that diminishes the examples of their tone left behind on recordings -- and live in the case of members who actually remember seeing them).

So now all three of the illustrious competitors in the Thelonious Monk Competition of 1991 are represented:
1) Joshua Redman (who came in first)
2) Eric Alexander (who came in second) and
3) Chris Potter (who placed third)

HAVE FUN!!

And Happy Labor Day!!!
 

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I voted for Ike Quebec, even though I don't remember hearing him before a few weeks ago. Loved that tone. My favorite undoubtedly will be different the next time I'm asked the question. Otherwise I might have voted for Dexter. He won't need my vote.

But Coltrane is my favorite player despite the fact that I think other people have had better tones for other things. Coltrane's tone usually (but not always) was perfect for what he was aiming for, especially when his aim seemed to be just a little beyond his reach. At least that's how some of his best sounds to me.
 

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A list without Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Forrest or Johnny Griffin is almost not worth voting on (for me)!

So I did pick my number five, which is on your list (Ike Quebec).
 

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Yeah, I just had Johnny Griffin playing here and was thinking that his tone is something special. In the end, this sort of poll is about who do you hear in your head when you think of jazz tenor, for me it’s a mix of Joe Henderson and Ellery Eskelin (which I in turn hear as a mix of his older Mark VI/Lamberson tone and his more recent Conn/Lebayle tone).
 

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The tone I chased in my youth was Emanuel Paul’s; however, he’s not on the list.
 
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