A provocative opinion from William Poulos in
"The anecdote illuminates a paradoxical truism of the arts: restrictions stimulate creativity. When the brain is forced to overcome an obstacle, only then is it encouraged to think of ways around it. Jarrett had to think of a way to make a bad piano sound good: surely much more stimulating than trying to make a good piano sound good. Any pianist can do that.
Jazz is based on improvisation which, to adapt T.S. Eliot, seems free but isn’t for anyone who wants to do a good job. Every jazz musician’s note choice is limited by the chords underneath their playing, because some notes sound better over some chords than others. The early jazz musicians who wanted to record their music had another restriction: time. The primitive recording technology of the time – the 1920s – allowed tracks to be three minutes long at most. In my opinion, this produced better jazz. I much prefer the solos of Bix Beiderbecke, who had only 30 seconds to impress their audience, to those of Miles Davis, who wastes every bit of eternity."
I tend to agree with Mr. Poulos. Have you ever tried to fix a piece of equipment but did not have the proper tools? You had to improvise with what you had at hand and challenge your imagination. Sometimes you come up with a better solution.
On one hand I agree that the skill of an artist is more obvious when you are aware of the problem they must overcome to produce something good.
On the other hand, the limitation can be so severe as to be stifling -- as in just about any Whiteman recording where Bix is not audible (IMHO).
Limitation, shackle, or something like that doesn't describe it well (although the paradox is fun). For me, it's a question of recognition, common ground. I think it's easier for people to appreciate artistic achievement when it arises frame of reference that the audience can identify. Find something familiar to people, and then: bend it, shape it, improvise it, make it into something new. The People will dig that.
Long solos, "free" jazz -- there is no law against such explorations into outer space, and they may be interesting for a while. But after a time I will say "you've lost me." That is, I've lost the frame of reference that allowed me to appreciate what you are doing.