Bob James: [W]hat really has happened is musicians from all different styles and eras have started cross pollinating and the two majors that I’m involved with – rock and jazz – have developed a series of musicians who have their roots in both. [J]azz musicians…have learned from the rock musician to be better in touch with a wide audience, thus making our music more universal. [N]ot only has it increased tremendously the financial possibilities of all of us involved in it, it has generated a kind of communication between us and our audience and just people in general. [I]n the early 60’s or late 50’s [t]he jazz musician was really isolated and didn’t want to have any touch with the rest of world, and the audience that was interested in the music was a very narrow one, a bunch of fanatics that wanted to listen to that music or nothing….
I think it was a self-imposed exile that these people were in and it was severely limiting in so many ways by not being objective about the things that were exciting about other areas of music. I think that what we see now…is far healthier and for more expansive. What we saw happen with so many younger jazz musicians, who did want to communicate, who did want to embrace or become acquainted with, or the be stimulated by the best elements from other areas, it just expanded their music, and as a result it expanded the audience….
Source: “Bob James,” by Zan Stewart, Musician, Player & Listener, June 15, 1978