On its face, the pairing of tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson with pianist Cedar Walton is a bit unusual. Walton, 76, plays with a heavy, steely touch; 45-year-old Jackson’s full-bodied sax sound grows gradually sweeter with age. Yet both men worked in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the ultimate finishing school in the bebop tradition, which means they learned the same lessons about the importance of melody, listening, and working together to establish a sound. Better yet, it means they both came of age—albeit 30 years apart—playing straightahead jazz with blues and gospel edges so hot you can practically smell the smoke. Even so, their stylistic differences are profound enough to make their chemistry on the bandstand unpredictable—in other words, to keep things interesting.

JACKSON AND WALTON PERFORM AT 8:30 AND 10:30 P.M. AT BOHEMIAN CAVERNS, 2001 11TH ST. NW. $30. (202) 299.0800.