Jazz fans who thought they'd lost Diana Krall to the solipsistic world of the singer-songwriter with The Girl in the Other Room, will be relieved to hear her latest album, From This Moment On. This collection finds her securely back in the fold, interpreting standards and playing and singing as well as she ever has, in the excellent company of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. This time around, Elvis Costello's involvement is limited to an appearance in the liner notes, under 'Diana Krall would like to thank ...', along with Elton John and David Furnish. Admirers of Krall will be divided in their opinions as to whether or not that's a good thing. There's a lot of good stuff here, and although Krall takes a number of strong piano solos, her sidemen also get abundant room to stretch out. Anthony Wilson's guitar solo on Exactly Like You and Gil Castellanos and Terell Stafford's trumpet work on the Cole Porter title track are particularly noteworthy. The songs are all long-standing favourites of the singer's, and an easy familiarity with the material gives the album a relaxed, assured quality. Vocal highpoints include Jobim's How Insensitive, George and Ira Gershwin's I Was Doing Alright and Rodgers and Hart's Little Girl Blue, but the quality is pretty even throughout, and the ensemble work is outstanding. Krall co-produces with Tommy LiPuma, and the orchestra features prominently on seven of the 12 tracks, all mixed in an intelligently balanced way. This is her strongest set for some years. Although not as famous a Canadian as Krall (or even as Oscar Peterson), David Braid is nevertheless regarded in informed circles as one of Canada's finest jazz pianists, and his band (which includes drummer Terry Clarke, former Peterson sideman bassist Steve Wallace, saxophonist Mike Murley, trombonist Gene Smith and trumpeter John MacLeod) is an all-star ensemble with serious North American reputations on both sides of the border. The whole band is in town this week, based at the Academy for Performing Arts, where Braid is putting in three days as an artist in residence, and performing two shows, to which admission is free. On Friday at 8pm the David Braid Sextet will appear in a special concert performance, which can be expected to be well worth attending, sponsored by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs at the APA Concert Hall. Tickets are available from www.hkapa.edu or by calling Leonard Wong at 2584 8517 or Jennifer Wong at 2584 8505. Braid and the Sextet will also be giving a lunchtime concert at the University of Science and Technology Exposition Hall on Thursday at 1pm. Another opportunity to hear some fine live jazz presents itself on Saturday at Grappa's Cellar, with part two of the long-running Allen Youngblood Presents series, this time featuring Blue Train Express (with Youngblood on organ, Skip Moy on guitar, Tom Nunan on sax, Mike Kurtz on trumpet, and Robbin Harris on drums), Trumpet Thing, featuring Mark Henderson, and Ginger Kwan and the GK Project. The Blue Train Express lineup is an expanded version of the organ-driven trio Youngblood has previously fielded and will, he says, 'kick ass'. Taking its inspiration from the soul-jazz giants of the Hammond B-3, who had their heyday in the 1960s, the band aims to broaden the audience's awareness of the jazz organ tradition, which is, he points out, much broader than many people think. 'When you talk about jazz on the organ everybody knows about Jimmy Smith, but they generally haven't heard of Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Richard Groove Holmes or younger players like Joey DeFrancesco,' Youngblood observes. The tradition is alive and well as DeFrancesco's new album, Organic Vibes, attests. Ginger Kwan has built up a considerable following with performances at SoHo venues such as Gecko and the Pizza Express, and performs a mixed bag of jazz and soul with the GK Express led by pianist Jason Cheng. Mark Henderson's Trumpet Thing is a Latin-based band that has performed at Blue Door. An eclectic range of material even includes the occasional Herb Alpert tune. Admission is HK$238 for adults with one free standard drink and HK$88 for students with one free soft drink. The music starts at 8pm.