Good points here. What you describe is the way an experienced author or musician might react, doing research on the critic for insight on where he or she is coming from in analyzing a piece. You (and a lot of us) would no doubt be on Google doing that in a New York minute.
Somehow I can't see Bix hanging out in the newspaper morgues of the day, researching Abel as a music critic.
He probably just shrugged and said, "Oh, what the h---," and went back to making music his way. But he would have likely felt validated had he heard some of the good things said about his composition.