If you're putting together a jazz collection of quality, then you've got to have Art Pepper. As old and as wide as the tradition now is, there's nothing else quite like the plaintive, 'low-down' sound of Pepper on sax. He recorded so many good albums that one is spoilt for choice. Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section is probably his best known, and the Village Vanguard series is also well worth having. But I'm going here for Straight Life (1979 - 48 minutes) because of the tracks 'Nature Boy' and 'September Song'. These are both quintessential Art Pepper, all melancholic intensity and life lived, with Tommy Flanagan on piano for good measure, beautifully catching the same mood. See the review here.
[Links to the rest of the series.]