In no particular order:
Siguard Rascher – Top tones!
Marcel Mule – The French School
Cannonball Adderley – Amazing tone, technique, and feel
Paul Desmond – Could you be more lyrical on the alto?
Phil Woods – The complete post bop package. Beautiful tone and lyricism on ballads.
Johnny Hodges – There’s only one Johnny Hodges!
Benny Carter – Such great sensitivity in all that he played.
Kenny Garrett – The best of the “young” guys. Unique tone and wonderful technique. Really interesting sense of harmonics and scales.
Greg Osby – Pushes the envelope of jazz/fusion/funk and everything else
Steve Coleman – One of the coolest senses of harmonics and scales around.