Someone asked me who I thought was the greatest saxophone player ever. I don’t think it’s easy to answer that question — in fact, I don’t think it’s possible. But I can answer a different question: what would the ideal saxophone player be like? I think it would have Paul Desmond’s sound; Charlie Parker’s improvisational ability; Lester Taylor’s (or Stan Getz’s) lyricism; and John Coltrane’s creativity.
Here’s a related idea. This may be in the realm of sci-fi, but suppose we could create a synthetic instrument that would really, really reproduce a given timbre. Then I would order a saxophone that sounded like Dexter Gordon on the lower register; Stan Getz on the middle register; and Paul Desmond on the high register. Naturally, it would be called the Dextan Getsmond saxophone. Alternatively, I would substitute Ben Webster for Dexter Gordon and call it the Benstan Getsmond sax.