Drummers rarely lead their own bands, but Jack DeJohnette has been a virtual coleader in groups helmed by some of the strongest personalities in jazz--most notably Keith Jarrett, whose Standards trio has starred DeJohnette for more than 20 years. The Chicago native started out as a pianist, even cutting an album on the instrument, and has a well-deserved reputation as a composer--no jazz drummer is better qualified to sit in the captain's chair. He has an umimpeachable swing, and his playing brims with lopsided accents, unexpected phrasing, and unique shadings. His versatility and inventiveness have made him an especially in-demand recording artist: he appears on a varied list of famous albums, from Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival to Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, from Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life to Pat Metheny's 80/81. Even on mainstream dates he still shows a love for the 60s avant-garde; he worked with the likes of Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell just before they formed the AACM, and several artists who made their names in that movement have since enlisted DeJohnette for their own sessions. His new sextet, the Latin Project, stars clarinetist Don Byron, powerhouse percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo, and spectacular Puerto Rican pianist Edsel Gomez. Panamanian pianist Danilo Perez opens the show with his own trio, and given his budding friendship with DeJohnette--the drummer sat in with Perez at the Jazz Showcase a year or two back--some extracurricular collaboration is all but guaranteed. Fri 2/18, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $19-$42. All ages.