Bassist & composer Alison Rayner’s award-winning quintet combine richly nuanced compositions, rhythmic interplay and folk-infused melodies; this, along with their love of improvisation, creates a strong sense of narrative and cinematic quality. ARQ play ‘songs without words’ and are lauded for their vibrant, communicative performances.


Alison Rayner Winner Ivor Novello Composer Awards 2019
Alison Rayner Runner-up Best Double Bass British Jazz Awards 2018 & 2019
ARQ Winners Ensemble of the Year Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018
ARQ Public Vote Best Small Group British Jazz Awards 2018

ARQ are widely celebrated from over five years of extensive UK and European
touring and critical acclaim for their first two albums ‘August’ (2014) and ‘A Magic Life’ (2016), receiving national and international radio play and four and five-star reviews in jazz and national press. ARQ’s third album
Short Stories (released Oct 2019 on Blow the Fuse Records) is receiving press acclaim with extensive radio play across the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. The band are currently touring the UK to promote the album with the support of ACE and PRS Foundation.

Alison Rayner – double bass
Buster Birch – drums / percussion
Deirdre Cartwright – guitar
Diane McLoughlin – saxophones
Steve Lodder – piano



Recent press

ARQ have come up with another impeccable album featuring warm, colourful, intelligent writing and some exceptional playing. It’s a recording that is likely to appeal to a broad listening constituency.


Full review:

A thing of beauty, an album that celebrates life rather than dwelling on the losses that sparked three of its tracks. There is a tightness, a flow and a sense of ease here. The narrative is never lost and each piece tells a complete, yet connected tale. There is a sense of shared things, yet also a sharing with the listener, which makes it tangible and accessible.

Something Else Reviews
Full review:

Another joyous set from ARQ that reflects on some of life’s sadder events and turns them into something altogether more optimistic, and in doing so reminds of the happiness and memories that people in our lives bring us.

Jazz Views

Full review:—short-stories.html

Bubbles with upbeat virtuosity, sometimes hitting a Dave Brubeck feel but equally capable of ripping with impressive jazz-rock guitar. They are particularly good at settling to sedate ambiance then combusting to melodic solos.

The Arts Desk on Vinyl

Full review:

An album that draws on collective talent to create another individualistic success.

Jazz Journal Full review:

Memories brought to life… bass-playing jazz composers (Charles Mingus and Charlie Haden, for instance) seem particularly good at conjuring scenes and atmospheres.

★★★★ The Observer

Full review:

She reveals a remarkable talent for absorbing grief and observing monumental vistas to re-express them as elegiac compositions.

London Jazz News
Full review:

Bright, open jazz music that rejoices in human experience without sentimentalising it. A collection of eight perfectly formed originals that makes the most of three standout soloists.

★★★★ BBC Music Magazine

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