The question never WAS answered... Where ARE the virtuosi of the arranger?
Why would anyone capable of being called a virtuoso bother playing something that isn't primarily HIM playing? Even if he made his own styles, it's NOT him in control. No modern arranger makes MUSICAL decisions, only robotic, pre-programmed ones. No musician worth his salt wants to be recognized as the best 'button-pusher'. He wants what the audience hears to be recognizably HIM, and nothing else. Everything else dilutes the impact.
I am afraid we tend to concentrate on non-musical aspects of the arranger... Songbooks, MP3 players, video output, rubbish like that. I honestly can hardly think of a single feature added to an arranger in the last few years that made it more MUSICAL. I still cringe when I hear the utter destroying of musical basslines by the arranger's inability to wrap notes intelligently, or the jackrabbit jumping around of chords, rather than smooth voice leading.
Musicians are SO, so much better than arrangers, in just about every way. It is no wonder that no one worthy of his salt will use one for anything other than crass commercial reasons. We sit around here and post URL after URL of amazing MUSICIANS, and gasp in wonder. But what we REALLY need to do is ask ourselves why we are playing arrangers that never get even a MILE close to what these people can do, and why we are so satisfied with them, anyway...
Me, I want an arranger that has a heart, an arranger that is MUSICAL, that spends less time on features for people that CAN'T play, and has more of them for people that CAN. I want an arranger that does what GREAT players do, and not what very average robots do...
I believe that the technology already exists capable of doing this. But, unfortunately, the majority of the market for arrangers wouldn't recognize correct voice leading if it bit them on the behind! But they SURE know a good karaoke readout when they see one!
Maybe, one day, if the manufacturers concentrate on making features that help REAL musicians, rather than bedroom jockeys and one-finger noodlers, we may FINALLY see someone who IS a virtuoso choose to play an arranger.
But not until...
(BTW... long enough for you, Donny?:0 )
An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!