It’s one thing for a 70-year-old trumpeter–who happens to be the most historically important jazzman living. and who not incidentally still sounds terrific–to continue touring, as Gillespie has done. But it’s quite another to find him employing the talents of a revolutionary from another jazz era (Sam Rivers) in what promises to be a quite different kind of Gillespie unit. Gillespie helped parent bebop in the early 40s; Rivers, whose tools of virtuosity include saxophones, flute, and piano, helped foster the adoption of the avant-garde in New York City in the early 70s. But there are important similarities, too: both are overwhelmingly individualistic improvisers, steeped in the jazz tradition, and at this point, each must be considered an elder statesman of the music he championed. That two such wildly divergent avant-gardes–the bebop of the 40s and the free jazz of the 60s–can share the stage in the 80s says much about the passage of time, but even more about musicians involved. Tonight through Sunday, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Anne Fishbein–Photo Reserve, Steve Kagan–Photo Reserve.