it's really approached from the wrong angle because the question about Deodato is really skewed. I enjoy Deodato, whether his music is jazz or not and he was part of my growing up in the 70's. Some critics dismiss him and "dyed-in-the-wool" jazz afficionados don't seriously give him a thought. I have this Jazz Encyclopedia that doesn't even give him a single entry and this makes me wonder - to repeat your question - what does it take to be a true jazzman?
I didn't expect to get into Deodato on this thread (really, hehe...), but the subject still refuses to die.
So anyway, some of these opinions on him are based on what they know of him as a musician. In a way, that's partly true...but to those in-the-know, he is first and foremost an Arranger/Conductor. Being a musician/recording artist (and sometimes Producer) are just among the many hats he wears in this business. Think of guys like Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Dave Grusin, Quincy Jones, Patrick Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Andre Previn, etc. In Brazil, Deodato is known to be one of these types of people in the music biz. In the 60's, he was already a top Producer/Arranger for many of the upcoming Brazilian stars of the day such as Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento, and many others. It was even said that he actually discovered some of them (which ones, I have to double-check). He even had a number of instrumental recordings that featured his keyboard playing over various brazilian rhythms. I actually admire music business folks such as these because they are very well-rounded, open-minded, and most of all, they also have the smarts to make good in this business (for a long time) without having to live life as a musician alone. Like those people I mentioned, Deodato has also dabbled in movie scores and soundtracks from his native homeland. Ask those I mentioned what kind of music they like personally, and oftentimes you'll hear that it's jazz. All
those guys I mentioned above have made jazz
recordings in the past, and I'll bet that is a fact unknown to many. They're all-around music cats, but Deodato will always be associated with his CTI recordings, particularly 2001. There's more to add, but this info on Deodato should give you guys a better understanding on him, and should clear the air on why the original question was taken from the wrong angle. As to whether he's a true-blue jazzman, that's irrelevant
. Like I said, all these guys have it in them
when they decide to flaunt it
. I don't know about you, but that's good enough for me. Btw, you'll be amazed at what he has accomplished as a Producer as well. It surprised me that he won Grammies for pop/disco recordings I can't stand, but it goes to show that he has worn many hats over the years, just like the other guys I mentioned earlier.