The 10 Best Jazz Pianists of All Time

The jazz genre has been shaped by some of the most talented and innovative pianists in history. From iconic bandleaders to unique talents, the best jazz pianists have revolutionized the role of the piano in music. Let's review the ten best jazz pianists of all time. Art Tatum was one of the most virtuosic

jazz pianists

of all time. Despite being blind in one eye and nearly blind in the other, Tatum adopted the stride piano style and developed it with an unheard of sense of harmonic ingenuity mixed with impeccable piano technique.

He performed standard songs creatively while running in circles around the basic melodies of each hand in a fast style. His brilliant interpretation of the Yesterdays standard has influenced

jazz pianists

of the mid-and late 20th century and continues today. Gospel music left an indelible mark on jazz pianist Bobby Timmons and its DNA can be detected in the way he played and in much of the music he wrote, which included the classic songs “Moanin'”, “This Here” and “Dat Dere”, which earned him a place among the best jazz pianists for laying the foundations of what became known as soul jazz in the late '50s and early '60s. Oscar Peterson was an flamboyant Canadian jazz pianist, although his initial training was in classical piano. Arguably, he would earn a place among the best jazz pianists solely by giving the jazz world the ever-popular standard “Misty”, which he composed in 1954 and recorded many times later. James P.

Johnson was a pianist from New Jersey who helped close the transition from ragtime to jazz with his stride piano technique, which was based on the locomotive and rocking joviality of ragtime, but added more sophisticated harmonies and a stronger blues element. He was left-handed and ambidextrous, often fusing classical elements in his improvisation, this man really revolutionized the jazz piano. Duke Ellington is one of the most iconic figures in jazz history. He played one of the most beautiful jazz piano solos ever recorded on “In a Sentimental Mood with Coltrane”, and sets a glorious closing with Trane. Without a doubt, one of the best jazz pianists in history. The importance of the piano in jazz dates back to Scott Joplin at the beginning of the 19th century, when ragtime proved to be an important initial element in the evolution of jazz music.

Harold Mabern is unique among the best jazz pianists because he started out as a drummer before moving on to the piano. Hiroshi Minami is a Japanese pianist that probably nobody knows about, but deserves to be on this list for his beautiful music. He made his first recording in 1945, but it was in the 1950s, when he joined Norman Granz's Verve label and conducted a piano trio, that he became a well-known name. Count Basie's piano prowess was often overshadowed by his role as a successful orchestra conductor. However, there are a few solo piano entries in his extensive discography (most notably The Duke Plays Ellington from 1953) that reveal his full scope of abilities. Here are some of the best modern jazz pianists with videos that demonstrate their incredible live performance: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner.