To understand Panassie's attitude towards Red Nichols (and other white jazz musicians) one has to try and comprehend his personal definition of jazz. Defining jazz is a dangerous exercise of course, one that has often led critics down cul-de-sacs rather than long winding avenues, and Panassie came to a dead-end fairly early on.
Like many other critics - especially conservative ones - Panassie applied "laws" to define jazz, without, it seems, any concept or appreciation that the application of such arbitrary definitions is the very antithesis of jazz and how it developed (and continues to develop) as a musical form. To Panassie, all jazz musicians who did not conform to these "laws" as he described them, were to be dismissed (with Nichols at the top of the list). In his early work, "Hot Jazz - The Guide To Swing", first published in 1934, Panassie states: "...we must rule out those musicians, however inspired, who do not conform to these instinctive laws. Let them spend their talent in some other branch of music instead of perverting hot style. Here I am not quibbling; I am denouncing a clear and ever-present danger". He even denounces himself, albeit unwittingly: "Here the error is that of thinking the matter is an arbitrary law invented by certain persons eager to draw up a sort of musical code".
Having appointed himself an arbiter of jazz, Panassie spent his life spreading his dogmatic tenets like a ecclesiast driven by missionary zeal, with white jazz musicians the greatest sinners of all (later, the be-boppers would be added). By the time Panassie's "Dictionary of Jazz" was published in the 1950s, its author had become positively evangelical in his eulogising of black musicians and consequent denigration of white ones, even those white musicians who admired and appreciated the New Orleans school that Panassie championed above all other jazz styles. For example, of Jack Teagarden he says: "An excellent technician with an easy style, but who lacks the punch of the coloured musicians; some of his solos are ruined by sentimentality...". The Dictionary gives but a few paltry lines to Red Nichols, summarily dismissing him as a corny imitator of Bix. Even Bix himself doesn't quite pass the Panassie litmus test on colour: "....he never quite achieved the style of the three great coloured trumpet players whom he long studied: Louis Armstrong, Tommy Ladnier and Joe Smith".