Line-up: STEVE LODDER piano; DEIRDRE CARTWRIGHT guitar; ALISON RAYNER double bass; BUSTER BIRCH drums, percussion; DIANE McLOUGHLIN saxophones
‘Nuanced, folk-infused melodies and bustling rhythmic interplay, accomplished and accessible music from one of the finest and longest running bands in the UK.’
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 previous album releases ‘August’ (2014) and ‘A Magic Life’ (2016). 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.
ARQ’s third album ‘Short Stories’ was released in October 2019, supported by Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation; they were mid-way through promotional touring when the pandemic hit in Spring 2020, with all further tour dates cancelled. They now (cautiously!) resume touring to promote this latest album, already having received extensive radio play and press acclaim.
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. ★★★★1/2 thejazzman.com
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
★ Ivor Novello Composer Awards Winner 2019 Alison Rayner
★ All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards Winner 2018 Ensemble of the Year
★ British Jazz Awards Winner 2018 Best Small Group (Public Vote)