27. Joshua Redman: Back East (Nonesuch, 2007)
Tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman had already recorded more than 10 albums before Back East, but the record stands out for its not-so-subtle debt to Sonny Rollins’ groundbreaking Way Out West, which featured Rollins in a pianoless trio with Ray Brown and Shelly Manne—and which had just turned 50 at the time Back East was cut. (As it happens, Way Out West was recently reissued for its 60th anniversary.) Redman, who is deeply influenced by Rollins’ loose but thematic improvisational style, strikes a fine balance between innovation and tradition, establishing that he has his own distinct voice while also acknowledging those who came before him.