I was just thinking about some of the beliefs I held about music as a younger man. I often got so into a certain drummer that when they moved on and someone different took their place, I would often compare the 2 players. Now sometimes it's great to "compare and contrast", as my English teacher used to say, (e.g. Miles' music) but I often defaulted to a this person is better than the other person. Not very helpful, really.
Here are a few examples….
I loved Kenny Clarke as soon as I heard him. One of the many great things he did was all his great work with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Here's a classic, swinging, example.
I actually first heard the MJQ with Connie Kay, who replaced Clarke after his departure. I must admit, the later MJQ didn't kill me, and when I later heard Clarke with them, I just decided he was "better" than Kay. , and didn't explore it any further. Fortunately for the young doofus I was, I later heard this……
Wow, he plays so beautifully and very differently than Clarke, and thank goodness for that!
I did this with other artists too. I used to think, why would Coltrane play with Rashied Ali when he could play with Elvin? I'm quite ashamed of my limited thinking back then. I think sometimes when we're young and trying to figure things out, we need to find winners and losers. This is super limited thinking! I remember reading Shelley Manne saying something to the effect of "Why compare artists? They're all in the museum together!" Wise words! :)
So, in conclusion, let's enjoy it all, the apples and oranges! :)