I have been listening a lot to Paul Desmond (born Paul Emil Breitenfeld; November 25, 1924 – May 30, 1977) again lately. I have always admired his skill and phrasing as an improvisor.
Guitarist Jim Hall said that he could improvise melodies that were better than the tune he was playing on and I think that is true.
He also had a great wit. When asked why he changed his last name to Desmond he said that he thought Breitenfeld sounded too Irish.
I especially like his duet recordings with Gerry Mulligan.