Fresh from releasing their third album ‘Short Stories’, ARQ – bass player Alison Rayner’s quintet – return with a series of live dates throughout the UK in early 2020, starting with their 26 February album launch at Pizza Express Jazz Club in London’s Soho.
‘ARQ’ are a renowned and celebrated group with decades of experience at the forefront of the international jazz scene. Since releasing Short Stories late last year, the album has received widespread critical acclaim, including a glowing 4* critique in The Observer newspaper and equally complimentary reviews by many other important jazz music resources including Jazzwise Magazine, London Jazz News and Jazz Journal. The album has also gained extensive air-time on multiple BBC Radio stations both nationally and regionally, as well as consistent support from Jazz FM.
In the midst of this positive attention, Alison Rayner was awarded a prestigious Ivor Novello Composers Award, (formerly the British Composer Awards), for a beautiful song on the new album entitled There is a Crack in Everything, written for her niece who cycled the hills and lochs of Scotland looking for a crack of light. She was also runner up in the category of UK double bass player in the 2019 British Jazz Awards.
Speaking about Short Stories, Alison Rayner says: “My music is allegorical and I write songs without words about experiences, places and feelings. Short Stories was inspired by the sudden losses of three young people within close family and friends. Their stories were too short but through my music I want to celebrate the joy they brought to our lives.”
A key highlight of the 2019 EFG London Jazz Festival was ARQ’s sold out concert at London’s Kings Place. Now the band will take their striking live show and unique music to venues throughout the UK. As the co-founder of artist development partnership ‘Blow The Fuse’, Rayner has promoted jazz events and tours, also producing music on Blow the Fuse Records. Blow the Fuse have played a crucial role in promoting women jazz musicians for over 30 years: their critically acclaimed series in recent years Tomorrow the Moon has providing many emerging women jazz artists with the support, space and opportunity to perform.
The new album Short Stories is available in CD, digital and vinyl formats, released on Blow the Fuse Records and distributed by Proper Music. ARQ have been awarded funding by both the Arts Council and the PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music Fund, both glowing endorsements and further testament to the quality and ability of the group. For a taste of what to expect, don’t miss the bands live performance on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ programme on 16th January.