A very interesting, informative and frequently very funny article! Thanks for posting this. Roswell Rudd was, is and will continue to be one of my very favorite musicians, at least in part because he doesn't fit comfortably into those neat little pigeonholes of era and/or style that writers, commentators and fans seem obsessed with. I guess it comes with the territory. To talk about these things you almost need some sort of category, but musicians generally reject categories in my experience.
The point made about "advanced guard" is provocative but ultimately beside the point. Bix was avant-garde because he had "followers" and Pee Wee wasn't because he didn't? We're too caught up in dictionary definitions here IMHO. Pee Wee Russell is a perfect example of someone who was "avant-garde" regardless of the context in which he performed and/or recorded. But then, of course, I'm falling into the same trap we all have and do and will likely continue to do by even saying that. Pee Wee was Pee Wee. Period.
Rudd is Rudd, regardless of whether he is playing Dixieland, working with Steve Lacy, playing some resort in the Catskills (read the delightfully titled "White Anglo-Saxon Pythagorean" segment of Bebop and Nothingness by Francis Davis for an account), recording the CD he refers to in the article or interacting with the members of Sonic Youth on another of his own projects.
Musicians or other artists in any media define their own parameters by simply doing what they do. Let's all hope that they continue doing just that regardless of what "we" say, think or write.
By the way, this thread title ranks up there in the "All Time Top Ten!"