Robert Baird's article Sound Man acknowledges the contribution of individual recording engineers to the music we all collect. I won't argue that they can make silk purses out of sows ears, but really good recording engineers can make marvelous additions to the work of fine musicians. There are lots of reasons why most jazz lovers cherish their copies of Jazz at the Pawnshop, but high on the list is the spectacular job Gert Palmcrantz did in capturing the sense of the room and the sound stage. If you want to explain imaging to someone, play that recording.
Palmcrantz and Pierre Sprey (Mapleshade) are two engineers who I think are masters at recreating a three dimensional performance space from two channels of recorded music. I wish I knew others in the same league. Anyone got any recommendations?