This reminded me of an article that I read about what killed the Big Bands. To quickly paraphrase the article, the musicians did it to themselves because of just what you posted above - they forgot about the audience and started playing for themselves. It's an interesting article for anyone who might want to read it.
Stan Kenton had a grand ambition. He wanted to transform jazz into the modern equivalent of classical music. Over the years, Kenton wandered down one blind and tone-deaf alley after another in search of his new musical paradigm. Even before he had figured out what he wanted his new highbrow music…www.washingtonexaminer.com
As I've posted on here many times before, my first instrument is not drums, it's trumpet. To further add to the discussion, "jazz" covers a lot of ground and within the Jazz genre, there are many sub-genres, and a person can really enjoy some of them and totally hate the others. As an example, I LOVE big band swing tunes - specifically the stuff from the golden age of the big band, the mid 1930s through the early 1950s. I'm down for "Tuxedo Junction," "Take the A Train," "In the Mood," "All of Me," "Orange Colored Sky," "Fly Me to the Moon," etc. I love listening to it as much as I love playing it.
Conversely, many people ask me when they learn I'm a trumpet player, "Oh, you must really be into Miles Davis then, right?"
Nope. Never cared for Miles, and I TRIED. I have tried several times over the years because I know that Miles is highly regarded as a Jazz trumpet player, and either I'm not sophisticated enough to "get it," or it's just not my cup of tea. It isn't that I can't appreciate it, but it's not something I'm going to go out of my way to listen to.
Mayard Ferguson? Oh yeah - all day long. He's probably my favorite jazz trumpet player.
My nephew graduated about a year ago with a degree in jazz guitar performance. To my ears, his senior recital - all written and arranged by him and performed by him and his school mates - was laughably bad. Definitely NOT something I'd say I liked. It was weird and dissonant, and didn't seem to have any structure or direction, but apparently that's what this college is promoting these days. His dad paid $80K for a degree that he can't leverage toward any kind of a job unless he continues on in academia and eventually starts teaching at the collegiate level somewhere. He's currently giving lessons out of a music store and tending bar.
To the OP, you could always see if it's newer jazz I they don't like, or anything, up to and and including Big Band swing. And did you really not know who Taylor Swift is? Like, you've never even heard her name in passing? How is that even possible?
Good read, thanks!
If all of the big band players, Miles Davis included, had remained dance-oriented, and not pursued their art, then Elvis and the Beatles would have maimed them, and Led Zeppelin would have buried them. True, jazz changed itself. But genres that do not evolve, are inevitably crushed by something newer and different.
I think there are some players really are "too good for the dance hall". For the very brilliant, making art that is accessible sometimes becomes a weight that pins down your creativity and genius. And, w.r.t. jazz, we are left with some truly beautiful music. It's not dance music, and that's ok. It's niche music, for those who enjoy it.