Just like in any other genre, there are certain artists who have had an enormous impact on the whole jazz scene. Those who follow try to copy their sound and then move beyond to be creative forces in their own right. Despite living in different eras, and representing different niches of jazz, some qualities are common to all of them. Qualities like passion, leadership, virtuosity, and fearless innovation.

Read on to discover six of the true “giants” of jazz improvisation through the ages and what you can learn from them to inspire your own improvising.

1. Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker created the blueprint for post-swing jazz improvisation. Even now, 70