International Jazz Day is April 30, and it might be fun to look at some of the most prolific and best jazz musicians of all time. Many of these artists come from another era when jazz music was in its prime.

Jazz is an American style of music stemming from early ragtime blues, with strong but flexible rhythm to it. There are frequent solos and improvisational chord patterns.

Best Jazz Musicians of All Time

Miles Davis

Miles Davis is a trumpet player from East St. Louis, Illinois, and one of the most influential jazz artists of all time. His innovative style is noticeable throughout his extensive career, spanning three decades. His Album Kind of Blue is known as one of the best jazz records of all time.


Ella Fitzgerald

This Virginian is known for her powerful voice, and her pioneering of scat – a wordless vocal technique with a horn-like sound. She came up with the Chuck Webb Orchestra in 1939, but sealed a career that made her one of the premier jazz singers of her generation.


Louis Armstrong

The trumpeter from New Orleans was nicknamed “Satchmo” and is known for his low, gravelly voice. Armstrong helped popularize the musical genre in the 1920s and saw a long and extensive career. He collaborated with many other jazz greats and today may be most known for his hit What a Wonderful World. Armstrong is widely known as one of the best jazz musicians of all time.

Duke Ellington

From the 1920s into the 1970s, Ellington led an orchestra known as one of the best ensembles in jazz music. His music helped to usher in the big band and swing music of the time. He kept up with the times as his career advanced, recording an album with John Coltrane.


John Coltrane

Coltrane came from North Carolina and established his career coming out of the Miles Davis Quintet. As his career advanced, so did his musical exploration. He’s probably most known for his album A Love Supreme today.