We all learn this music by listening to what music is already out there, what has already been done, and we look for a way to fit into the present musical landscape. Some of us try to create a sound like someone we admire, or that other musicians will be impressed with, or that fits into what is happening in our local scene (all the better to get hired, my dear).
I feel it's more important to be honest in your music: play what you hear, not what you think others want to hear from you- be it the group of players you want respect from, record labels, promoters, even audiences at jazz clubs or festivals. Play what you hear.
If you are studying your chosen instrument, if you are studying the music and its history and development, if you are learning the songs, you will feel a stylistic concept evolve, and you will hear your sound as you play.
Three of the most influential jazz masters of all time were told they had no business playing jazz.
Lester Young was told his sound wasn't muscular enough, because Coleman Hawkins had what was thought to be the perfect jazz tenor sax sound. Bandleaders actually sat Young down and played Hawkins' records, saying "that's what you're supposed to be doing!" Count Basie, however, enjoyed the contrast of having this sweet, smooth sound coming out of his roaring, stomping, blues-based band. As he recorded under his own name, his melodic lines that emphasized the color tones- 6ths, major 7ths, 9ths- offered an alternative approach to tenor sax, and opened the door for the birth of the cool.
Ironically, Thelonious Monk was not considered to be a prime time musician until Coleman Hawkins hired him. People thought Hawkins had lost his mind, because Monk didn't play like other pianists played; in fact, many people thought he couldn't play at all- what was Hawk thinking?
Of the four primary elements of (jazz) music- melody, harmony, rhythm and form- Monk's playing and writing was essential to the development of a modern (post-big band swing) jazz vocabulary in all of them, even though his piano style was firmly rooted in stride. Players nowadays are still challenged by his writing, and very few pianists can play like him without sounding clumsy.
Bill Evans was also denigrated- in his case, for being too studied, too classical in his approach. He didn't come through the blues; he saw a piano trio as a chamber group, a collective of equal partners, not the star-and-sidemen style of most other small groups. His introspective ballads, deceptively simple voicings, and use of 'inner melodies', reflecting his love and understanding of classical and romantic compositional forms, changed jazz piano accompaniment dramatically.
There are so many other examples, but these guys stuck with who they were, committed to what they heard. Fame, respect, these things came late for them, but their legacy is heard in countless jazz players who came after them.
Play what you hear...