Miles Davis voted greatest jazz artist of all time

The top 10 jazz artists are the best of the best, across all styles and eras. They are crowned by three iconic immortals: Duke, the orchestral master, Louis, the father of us all, and Miles, the essence of the ever-changing contemporary spirit.Geoffrey Smith
Date: 13.11.2015     Last updated: 15.11.2015 at 17.00
Category: BBC Music; Radio 3
Miles Davis has been voted the Greatest Jazz Artist of all time out of a shortlist of 50 jazz musicians, beating names who made the top 10 such as Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane and Billie Holiday to the top spot.

The top 10 artists were announced today on BBC Music Jazz, a temporary pop-up radio station for jazz on DAB, bbc.co.uk/musicjazz and mobile, in collaboration with BBC Radio, Jazz FM and EFG London Jazz Festival from 12 to 15 November. Programmes include bespoke jazz content, live broadcasts from London Jazz Festival, unique one-off documentaries and archive recordings, expertly curated by BBC Radio in collaboration with Jazz FM for the very first time and available to catch up on BBC Radio iPlayer.

As part of the programming, BBC Radio and Jazz FM listeners were invited to vote for the Greatest Jazz Artist of all time from a list of 50 shortlisted musicians drawn up by a panel consisting of BBC jazz presenters, Jazz FM presenters, jazz musicians, critics, and journalists. The results are announced by BBC Radio 3’s Geoffrey Smith and Jazz FM’s Helen Mayhew over the four days of the broadcast.

Geoffrey Smith says: “The top 10 jazz artists are the best of the best, across all styles and eras. They are crowned by three iconic immortals: Duke, the orchestral master, Louis, the father of us all, and Miles, the essence of the ever-changing contemporary spirit.”

Helen Mayhew says: "Miles Davis is a very worthy musician to have been voted in at the very top of our 50 Greatest Jazz Artists chart. The epitome of cool and an iconic character, Miles was at the forefront of key developments in the sound of jazz through each decade of his long career. He's also responsible for recording the biggest-selling and most universally loved jazz album of them all, the 1959 album Kind Of Blue."

BBC Music Jazz aims to pull together the best of jazz content on the radio and provide programmes designed to appeal to newcomers and jazz aficionados alike, including documentaries examining Dudley Moore’s love of jazz, Jamie Cullum introducing some of his favourite live recordings, musical masterclasses, an exclusive live broadcast of Kamasi Washington’s London Jazz Festival performance from the Barbican and BBC Radio 3’s Jazz on 3 Ronnie Scott’s gig simulcast on the pop-up station.

The London Jazz Festival’s opening night gala will also be simulcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Music Jazz live from the Barbican on Friday 13 November at 7.30pm.

A full schedule for the pop-up station is available at bbc.co.uk/musicjazz

Greatest Jazz Artist of all time – Top 10

1. Miles Davis
2. Louis Armstrong
3. Duke Ellington
4. John Coltrane
5. Ella Fitzgerald
6. Charlie Parker
7. Billie Holiday
8. Thelonious Monk joint with Bill Evans
10. Oscar Peterson

Notes to Editors

BBC Music Jazz

  • BBC Music Jazz is temporary digital radio service running between 12 November and 15 November inclusive and which enables the BBC to offer with Jazz FM and The EFG London Jazz Festival, access to continuous jazz content.
  • The service will be available on digital radio platforms, online bbc.co.uk/musicjazz in the UK and globally and via the BBC iPlayer Radio app labelled as BBC Music Jazz. It will also be available on demand for 30 days. It will not be available on digital TV.

Greatest Jazz Artist of all time – Top 50 shortlist

Abbey Lincoln
Art Blakey
Art Tatum
Betty Carter
Bill Evans
Billie Holiday
Bobby Wellins
Buddy Rich
Cannonball Adderley
Carmen Mcrae
Charles Lloyd
Charles Mingus
Charlie Haden
Charlie Parker
Count Basie
Dave Brubeck
Dianne Reeves
Dizzy Gillespie
Duke Ellington
Ella Fitzgerald
Esbjörn Svensson
Fats Waller
George Shearing
Gerry Mulligan
Gregory Porter
Herbie Hancock
Hugh Masekela
Jamie Cullum
Jan Garbarek
Jimmy Smith
John Coltrane
John Taylor
Keith Jarrett
Kenny Wheeler
Lester Young
Loose Tubes
Louis Armstrong
Mark Murphy
Mary Lou Williams
Miles Davis
Nina Simone
Norma Winstone
Ornette Coleman
Oscar Peterson
Pat Metheny
Sun Ra
Thelonious Monk
Tubby Hayes
Wayne Shorter
Woody Herman

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