Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats
Not being a jazz purist or expert, I'd say 'real' jazz has to do with staying true to 'jazz ideas' like striving for expertise in improvisation (if possible over rather complex harmonic structures, interplay, searching for the new (while still staying true to some dogmatic aspects of the idiom), and creating music on the spot.
Also, I think traditionally (think the earlier days' big names)jazz musicians are not looking for the big money or great success among the masses, but rather musical expression and uniqueness, and big respect among peers.
Wasn't jazz the pop and dance music of its glory days?
Today I see several lines of musical stylistics come together. I mean you can even hear the swing in most hip-hop beats, and 'jazzy' voicings in several styles. People who constantly talk about 'real jazz' are purists who only think of jazz in a traditional, dogmatic sense. It really is a matter of perspective. As stated earlier, to most pop music listeners, Norah Jones or Kenny G are pure jazz, to virtually all jazz musicians they are pop. If they are good musicians is another kind of story IMO, I'd separate those two issues.