Charlie Parker seems like a great place to start. I really like this collection: Yardbird Suite: The Ultimate Charlie Parker. It culls songs from his different record labels and includes many of the tunes in the Omnibook. I love all of these tunes and they’re great for building a bebop vocabulary.
Sonny Stitt is a Charlie Parker disciple who I really dig. The one I have is Sonny Stitt Sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio . He plays both alto and tenor on this. Au Privave and Scrapple from the Apple are at frightening tempos and are a really fun listen.
Hank Mobely is another player I really like. He seems to be overlooked because he was more of a player and not an innovator. I became aware of him through Gary Campbell’s books. He speaks highly of him and uses examples of his 8th note lines. The classic and one I own is Soul Station. It just really swings and grooves the whole way through.
I saw Sonny Rollins play in college and it blew me away. He can take a small phrase and play it a hundred different ways. The classic is Saxophone Colossus, which contains the calypso tune St. Thomas. That type of tune seems to be his show-stopper in concert.
John Coltrane seems to be the most influential player after Bird. He had different periods in his playing: bebop, modal, and free jazz. I really like the modal stuff, so I’m going to recommend Live at Birdland. His soprano playing is really amazing and almost sounds like a snake charmer at times.
I was introduced to Wayne Shorter through Weather Report, but his solo stuff is really cool, too. I’ve got Adam’s Apple and Speak No Evil. His compositions are really unusual. They have simpler melodies with sophisticated harmony underneath. I prefer Adam’s Apple because of its darker quality.
Joe Henderson is a really interesting player and in the mold of Wayne Shorter. They are both thematic/motivic players, instead of relying on licks. Page One is a classic because of the Kenny Dorham tune: Blue Bossa. I really like the ballad La Mesha and Recorda Me. The Inner Urge album is good, too, and I have that particular song transcribed.
Dexter Gordon is a player I really like. He sounded like a guy caught between the old guard of Lester Young/Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane. He had a great tone. Go is considered the classic, but I really like Doin’ Allright. His solo on the title track is great.
Jackie McLean was a Charlie Parker disciple, who ventured into a more free style of playing. This guy has a great, hard hitting tone that I really dig. I’ve heard some of his early stuff, but I really like an album from the 90′s called Dynasty. His son plays on this, hence the Dynasty title. I really like House is Not a Home and Bird Lives on this.
Getz/Gilberto is probably more well known for introducing the US to Bossa Nova music and the Girl from Ipanema, but it still is a great sax album. Getz is just so laid back and grooving on these tracks. Some might consider this as too cheesy, but I have a soft spot in my heart for it.