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Led by bassist and composer Alison Rayner, multi award-winning quintet ARQ are widely celebrated from several years of extensive UK and European touring – and critically acclaimed for their three album releases August (2014), A Magic Life (2016) and Short Stories (2019).

Their music combines 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. Short Stories, their most recent album, supported by Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation, garnered extensive press acclaim and international radio play; its release was followed by a twenty four date UK promotional tour with Alison subsequently winning a coveted Ivor Novello Composer Award for ‘There is a Crack in Everything’ from on the album.

ARQ’s recent appearances include London’s Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express Jazz Clubs, Poole Lighthouse, Gateshead Sage and Liverpool Capstone Theatre; recent jazz festivals include EFG London, Birmingham, Swanage and Ribble Valley. The band are currently previewing new material in their performances and plan to record a new album later this year.

"A collection of eight perfectly formed originals." - BBC Music Magazine

"Memories brought to life." - The Observer


Diane McLoughlin - saxophones

Deirdre Cartwright - guitar

Steve Lodder - piano

Alison Rayner - bass

Buster Birch - drums