When tenorist Harold Land first hooked up with vibes player Bobby Hutcherson to form a quintet in the late 60s, it was at once an unexpected puzzlement and an only-natural affirmation of jazz's ability to combine innovation and tradition. On the one side you had Land, the smooth and steady hard-bop veteran best known for his work with Clifford Brown. Next to him, and a musical generation away, stood the youngish Hutcherson: having helped Eric Dolphy push the envelope of tonal music, he had already laid claim to the mantle of Milt Jackson as the next important voice on his instrument. The bridge between them was their approach to improvisation; it assumed Hutcherson's respect for Land's accomplishments of the 50s, as well as Land's openness to the new layers Hutcherson had helped add in the 60s. Over the years, they've maintained a connection--both belong to the Timeless All-Stars, which tours semiregularly--and when Land's light, cool sound meshes with the muted vibes colors Hutcherson prefers, it's a reflection of the history between them. Their appearance marks the spring return of Joe Segal after his traditional winter board-up. Tonight and Saturday, 9 PM, and Sunday, 4 and 8 PM, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.