If you haven't read (and listened to) Ethan Iverson's lengthy interview with the great Henry Threadgill, I strongly encourage you to do so. Below is one of my favorite passages. There will never be another Henry Threadgill, but when another artist of his staggeringly wide-ranging creativity comes along, it will be someone who has grasped this core point. (When Threadgill says "the same sort of information base," he's referring to contemporary Cuban musicians, who, he argues, leave their country with a firm grounding in music from all over the world.)
"Here in this country, we should have the same sort of information base in music and leave people alone in terms of being specific about it. Don't be helping people with being no jazz musician or anything else. Don't help them with that. Help them with the knowledge of how to use science to the best of their ability to reproduce sound, how to research information and these types of things. Keep them in a neutral zone so that they can become whoever they will be."