Having lived in the country for about eleven years, I can tell whether people are "city slickers" or "country bums" in about five seconds of dicussion or looking at one's car. This is a talent one acquires, as is the ability to hear the intricacies that modern jazz artists strive for. As talents go, it is greatly underappreciated, except by the musicians themselves, and many people just assume that jazz critics and fans were just born out of the box. It is not true. Many years of study can give you the grasp of general knowledge of jazz, but unorthodox study can give you the greatest appreciation for the artform.
Study of artists such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, Eddie Condon and Pee Wee Russell, and Gene Krupa and George Wettling can give you the ubiquitously understood. However, pick up a record (or other form of music appropriation) of Herbie Fields or Frank Traynor. That can give you the little-known pleasure of discovery. Pick up a Matt Munisteri album at some point and listen to the eloquence and poise with which his guitar can sing. All I'm saying is that jazz fans and critics need to pick up something other than their favorites every once and a while and bring these unsung heroes out into the limelight.