Recently trumpeter Nicholas Payton posted on his blog a free verse rumination of why Jazz isn't cool anymore. It's definitely worth reflecting upon, and I agree with some, though not all, of what he says. Two main ideas stuck out for me:
"People are holding on to an idea that died long ago.
Jazz, like the Buddha, is dead.
Let it go, people, let it go."
Jazz, if you define the music very narrowly, is not exactly dead, but more accurately a codified art form. There's still a lot of people playing traditional jazz across the world, and the rules are well-known by now. However, if you define jazz broadly, there's a wealth of musicians taking different influences and incorporating them with the language of jazz. To me, it's a very vibrant art form, although that doesn't necessarily equate to being popular.
"It’s the colonialist mentality that glorifies being treated like a slave.
There is nothing romantic about poor, scuffling Jazz musicians."
I believe that anyone who is playing jazz/improvised music as a profession is probably scuffling, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.