About this 'soul'/'moving the listener' thing. It's more about the listener than anything else.
For example I have a preference for strong and simple beats, usually with a kick on every quarter note. Neil's good at that sort of thing (especially Middletown Dreams, Territories and The Weapon), so he moves me pretty easily whenever he does it. He's also got some of it in Der Trommler, so I like the solo as well.
I know people who loved John Bonham's Moby Dick solo. I found it boring, just a list of techniques.
Okay, fresh observation, coming straight out of Territories: The power of Peart lies not just in the man himself, but in the entire band. Alex Lifeson's not as exciting when he's on his own. Neither is Geddy Lee, and neither is Neil Peart.
The power lies not in the skill of their playing, but in how well they go together. Get out a copy of Territories, and skip to the 1:27 mark. You have a guitar riff and a bassline that match each other like two pieces in a puzzle. The strong and simple beat just serves to add power and backing to them.
Neil Peart's strength is not his ability to play exactly like any other drummer besides himself. (Heck, I don't even consider that an important skill) If it was, he wouldn't really be himself, and be unable to piece himself with Alex and Geddy so well.
I see a similar sort of criticism with Alex Lifeson. Some people got pissed at him be cause he stopped playing a lead role. (Known as Alex Lifeson Disease) Thing is, it's not like he buried himself under the rest of the band. Rush isn't about Alex or Geddy or Neil. It's not about your big fancy solos and your shiny blonde hair. It's about Rush. In order for them to be able to compose powerful music, they had to learn how to play in balance and cooperate with each other.
When you're listening to Neil Peart, you're not listening to one man, you're listening to one part of a whole, the being known as Rush.
His jazz sounds really rigid, like he is channeling Rush into Buddy's music. Doesn't work for me.
Haha, I bet it's because Neil doesn't play jazz as much as Rush stuff. We've all got something to improve on.
Actually, I think Rush as a whole should get into more jazz & blues, or just something completely different from what they're doing now. If you listen to Vapor Trails (after remastering) and Snakes & Arrows, they're actually pretty tired albums. Your 'older stuff' does NOT count as something completely different, you sillies! (A reference to Alex Lifeson's Guitar Player interview in 2007) They did that back in the Permanent Waves-Grace Under Pressure era, when they realized they couldn't play 'just rock'. What came out of that? Strong reggae influences.
On a similar note, I believe more fans should not be blinded by their love and ignore their idol's mistakes. Rather, a true fan should be a little like a good teacher--they should be able to identify what is wrong with their idol's music and give suggestions to help them improve. There must always be a balance of Love and Reason.