There are jazz vocalists and there are vocalists who sing the jazz repertoire: there's a sharp distinction between the two. Janice Borla is a jazz vocalist. "I'm an instrumentalist in a vocalist's body," says Borla, who is also noteworthy for her work as a jazz educator, focusing on the voice as an instrument. "I don't think of myself as a singer. I think of myself as a musician who is using my voice versus a piano or violin." Borla improvises wordless scat solos, as many singers do, but is equally adept at improvising melodically within lines of lyrics - and she's not bad at writing them herself. Her interpretations are spontaneous, but nuanced, and although she does dip into the Great American Songbook from time to time, more of her repertoire comes from the original compositions of great soloists - particularly pianist Bill Evans, whose Funkallero opens her latest album, Promises to Burn . The album is credited to the Janice Borla Group, which also comprise Scott Robinson on tenor sax and flute, Art Davis on trumpet and flugelhorn, John McLean on guitars, Bob Bowman on bass, and her husband Jack Mouse on drums. Borla trades choruses with the instrumentalists, particularly on the group's wordless takes on Lennie Tristano's Lennie's Pennies and Bob Mintzer's RunFerYerLife , both taken at a challenging pace. She also shows her ability to stretch out as a ballad improviser, without the help of lyrics, on Jack DeJohnette's Silver Hollow , not an obvious choice. On previous albums, Borla contributed lyrics but this time around she interpreted other people's words, using Karen Gallinger's for Funkallero , and Christine Helferich's for the swinging soul-jazz of Joey Calderazzo's Midnight Voyage . There are more conventional ballads - handled sensitively and without any ostentatious display of vocal virtuosity - in Tadd Dameron's If You Could See Me Now , and Leonard Bernstein's Some Other Time , with its Betty Comden and Adolph Green lyrics. Meanwhile, gigs to attend in Hong Kong this week start tonight at the AC Hall in Kowloon, where Larry Carlton plays as part of a trio with his son Travis on bass and drummer Gene Coye. A fine guitarist adept in many genres, Carlton's trio concerts stay mostly in the jazz and blues territory he has made his own as a solo artist after years as a top Los Angeles studio musician - perhaps best known for his blistering guitar solos on Steely Dan's The Royal Scam album (1976). These days his focus is on live performances, electric, acoustic, or a mixture of the two. The show starts at 8pm. The Peninsula hotel's Salon de Ning is branching out as a live music venue, and guitarist Eugene Pao and his band will be in residence for the next two Wednesdays, performing between 9pm and 11pm. Also appearing there every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11pm, until March 8, is singer Danny Diaz who started out in Hong Kong in the mid-1960s with his band Danny Diaz & the Checkmates. Bobby Taylor, another music business veteran, is celebrating his 80th birthday with a special gig at Grappa's Cellar on Tuesday. Taylor sang in New York doo wop groups in the 1950s before forming Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers in the 1960s, and signing to the Motown label for a top-30 hit with Does Your Mama Know About Me . His greatest claim to fame, however, is introducing the Jackson 5 to Motown, and producing most of their first album. He will be performing a selection of vintage hits by artists associated with that label. The show starts at 8pm. Take Three Three albums featuring Janice Borla's distinctive jazz vocals. Lunar Octave (1996, Digital Music Products): Borla tackles pianist Thelonious Monk's Round Midnight, but otherwise there is scarcely a predictable choice of song on an album which includes original interpretations of tunes by John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, among others. She sings her own lyrics to Bill Evans' Five. Agents of Change (2003, Blu Jazz): Borla supplies new lyrics for Joe Henderson's Black Narcissus , Evans' Remembering the Rain , and Peggy Stern's The Aerie . There are also wordless vocals, and a fine interpretation of Norma Winstone's lyrics for Jimmy Rowles' The Peacocks. From Every Angle (2006, Blu Jazz): Borla takes on compositions by Charlie Parker, John Scofield and Horace Silver, as well as her own Askew in the Cradle . An eclectic yet coherent collection.