The tenor saxophonist Mark Lockheart has been something of a constant in the ever-changing world of British jazz over the last 20 years. He has also been something of a chameleon, adapting to all kinds of different styles and settings while remaining identifiable and distinctive as an original voice.
First, one of that great finishing school of modern jazz, the big band Loose Tubes, then in that most domestic of acoustic quartets, Perfect Houseplants, and today in the country's most interesting small group Polar Bear, Lockheart has lived up to his name and been at the emotional centre of the music.
His latest project has taken some adapting to bring it from recording to touring vehicle, and arrives at the mac on Saturday.
Called Mark Lockheart's Big Idea, he made the most of his own skills and the magic of the recording studio.
First he recorded some improvised saxophone ideas, then he edited and joined and multi-layered them on a computer and ended up with compositions that were sometimes saxophone quintets.
These he worked on with old Houseplant colleagues Martin France on drums and Dudley Phillips on bass, and fellow Loose Tubes alumnus John Parricelli on guitar.
The results, Moving Air (now available on Basho Records), bear all the familiar warm Lockheart sounds but in a fresh and intriguing context.
To extend the Moving Air album to a touring project could have involved the bandleader playing along to prerecorded parts, but that would have been the unimaginative way to do it; instead Lockheart has three more saxophonists along to help him.
Julian Siegel and Steve Buckley ( another former Loose Tube) are definitely in the band, and then there's Rob Townsend or Jason Yarde, depending on which publicity material you are reading.
That Rolls Royce of a rhythm section is on board for the tour too.
Mark Lockheart's Big Idea comes to the mac on Saturday, 8pm, tickets are £9 (£6 for Birmingham Jazz members) and you can book by calling 0121 440 3838 or online at www.macarts.co.uk