32. Gerry Mulligan Quartet
Jazz quartets without a pianist had existed before, but they didn’t sound like this. As Chet Baker blew wistful trumpet melodies, Mulligan’s buoyant baritone sax weaved intricate lines around him, with one of two bassists (Bobby Whitlock in 1952, Carson Smith in 1953) offering clever counterpoint and one of two drummers (Chico Hamilton in ’52, Larry Bunker in ’53) grounding it all. Go to The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (Pacific Jazz/EMI) for a solid primer.