This AAJ review of Curtis Fuller and Louis Hayes at Jazz Standard made me think about one of the ways we often discuss and write about jazz artists.
We often define players in terms of who they have played with, instead of what they have played. Curtis Fuller is more noted in the article for having played with Coltrane, than for being one of the greatest jazz trombonists of all time. Louis hayes is also described by his companions more than his music.
I don’t mean this as a knock on the writer of this particular article, because it is common practice. But I still wonder, Why do we do this? Are we so obsessed with personality or celebrity that we can only take an artist’s music seriously if he has received the endorsement of being allowed to perform with someone more famous than himself?