Re: ...for the jazz cats ...
I GUESS I'm a jazz cat. Sort of. Kinda. I love it. I play it. It's a big part of my life. But in NY there's a real stigma about that stuff. There are people known as Jazz-nazis -- they only like jazz, only play jazz, don't acknowledge and look down at other forms of music. I hate that. It's so narrow, snobbish and ignorant. It's gotten to the point where I want to distance myself from it.
And the reality of the situation is, there are basically two types of jazz musicians in NYC. There are the guys who do real jazz gigs and struggle and there are the kids coming out of schools who want to be "cats" and create a little scene for themselves buy make absolutely no money. Some of them are very good, but 99% of them get tired f playing for free and tuck their tail between their legs within a year or two and go back home and become accountants or open a hardware store.
I also think jazz's heyday is behind us. There's little around that hasn't been done before -- better.
Sorry to be a bummer -- sometimes I think I've been around too long.
Having said that, I think if you never study jazz you're missing out on a HUGE vocabulary as a musician.