{mosimage}The McCoy Tyner Quartet is in town. Mr. Tyner obviously needs no introduction: When John Coltrane was at his most profound, it was Tyner’s piano in the spaces, keeping things beautiful. And in the long decades since Trane left the planet, Tyner’s been creating in all sorts of ways — with symphonies, on his own (at last year’s Playboy Jazz Festival, arty dancers traipsed about him as he played). But what everyone really wants to see is the man back in a quartet that features a deep and heavy saxophonist. Which is what you can expect at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Friday, May 4, when the pianist plays with powerful, explorative NYC tenor Joe Lovano, along with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Lewis Nash. Lovano and Holland have teamed up with Elvin Jones in the past; Nash will fill in nicely. This is major-league stuff, and the improv embarked upon should be flat-out wonderful. Are there still tickets? Find out.

And if there aren’t, it’s still a big week for sax fans. Pete Christlieb is a dominating big-band soloist, but a small-group setting shows just how great a saxophonist he is. Catch him alongside Andy Martin at LACMA, Fri., May 4, or at Charlie O’s on Thurs., May 10. Tom Scott plays straight ahead at Catalina Bar & Grill on Fri.-Sun., May 4-6; while Justo Almario goes all out at the Baked Potato on Fri., May 4. Charlie O’s hosts tenors Doug Webb on Fri., May 4; Rickey Woodard on Sat., May 5; or the pure straight ahead of saxist Charles Johnson and the CJS Quintet on Sun., May 6. Adventurous reedman Adam Schroeder hits Rosalie & Alva’s on Sat., May 5, while that same night Matt Otto plays gorgeously at Café Metropol. And exceptional saxophonist Carol Chaikin makes one of her rare appearances in Alexandra Caselli’s quartet at Jax on Mon., May 7. Every one of those saxophonists is distinctive, and every one should already have a whole catalog of releases on some major West Coast label. California dreaming…

Steve Huffsteter can play some exquisite trumpet. His tone is nearly ethereal, notes hanging and fading. Saxist Rick Keller joins him at the Back Room, Fri., May 4. You dig Clifford Brown? Check out The Tonight Show’s Kye Palmer at Vibrato, Fri., May 4. He sounds like burnished brass, and he glides into the high notes. And if you like it earthier, Nolan Shaheed is at the Spot, Fri., May 4.

The Brad Mehldau Trio is at Pepperdine University’s Smothers Theatre on Sat., May 5. No horns here, as they would only crimp the sound. And Mehldau can slide from a delicate Chopin to a very swinging Nat in seconds (check out his “Blackbird” off Art of the Trio — Vol. IV). But if you prefer a club to a concert hall, our own (via New Zealand) Alan Broadbent brings his trio into the Vic on Thurs., May 10.

Two nice guitar gigs, but alas on the same night. Austrian Wolfgang Schalk’s quartet is at Catalina Bar & Grill and the Tonight Show’s Kevin Eubanks (with Smitty Smith) plays at the Baked Potato, both on Wed., May 9. You know Eubanks’ stuff; while Schalk is new in town, his new Space Messengers is excellent. Maybe you can make both gigs.

But overall, the unexpected highlight of the week is a matinee show with the Avishai Cohen Trio at the Jazz Bakery on Sun., May 6. It’s the bassist’s only L.A. appearance this tour, and his subtle blend of jazz and Middle Eastern (among many) influences is a nice end to a waning weekend’s afternoon.

LA Weekly