Kurt Elling 1967-
Thelonious Monk 1917-82
Wynton Marsalis 1961-
Wynton is more about the poetry of jazz and the building blocks of music. He made me want to go to New York, which I did, and I watched him play four nights in a row. I didn't always agree with his style but having saturated myself with the masters, it was good to return to something traditional. After seeing him, I decided actually to do the music, properly. He's an excellent ambassador of jazz, a mentor for kids and a 21st-century Duke Ellington – nothing more, nothing less.
US jazz musician Wynton Marsalis plays trumpet in 2003. Photograph: Rafa Rivas/AFP/GETTYIMAGES