Jazz Coventry: Blow The Fuse – The Alison Rayner Quintet
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.
ARQ are widely celebrated from six 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. Winners of ‘Ensemble of the Year’ at the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and shortlisted for ‘Best Small Group’ at the 2018 British Jazz Awards, ARQ’s third album Short Stories (released Oct 2019 on Blow the Fuse Records) is now receiving extensive radio play and press acclaim. The project is supported by ACE and PRS Foundation Women Make Music.
Alison Rayner – double bass
Buster Birch – drums / percussion
Deirdre Cartwright – guitar
Diane McLoughlin – saxophones
Steve Lodder – piano
Alison Rayner Winner The Ivors Composer Awards 2019
Alison Rayner Nominated Best Double Bass British Jazz Awards 2019
ARQ Winners Ensemble of the Year Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018
ARQ Shortlisted Best Small Group British Jazz Awards 2018
Alison Rayner Runner-up Best Double Bass British Jazz Awards 2018
Short Stories preview video: https://youtu.be/tGc_dVpAY4c
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 a broad listening constituency. **** 1/2
Full review: http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/alison-rayner-quintet-short-stories/
A thing of beauty, an album that celebrates life rather than dwelling on 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: http://somethingelsereviews.com/2019/11/08/arq-short-stories/
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.
Full review: https://www.jazzviews.net/arq—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: https://theartsdesk.com/new-music/theartsdesk-vinyl-54-beatles-prince-kid-acne-nirvana-teebs-monty-python-pulp-and-more
An album that draws on collective talent to create another individualistic success.
Full review: https://jazzjournal.co.uk/2019/12/06/alison-rayner-quintet-short-stories/
Memories brought to life… for some reason bass-playing jazz composers (Charles Mingus and Charlie Haden, for instance) seem particularly good at conjuring scenes and atmospheres.
Full review: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/nov/30/alison-rayner-quintet-short-stories-review-blow-the-fuse
She reveals a remarkable talent for absorbing grief and observing monumental vistas to re-express them as elegiac compositions.
London Jazz News
Full review: https://londonjazznews.com/2019/12/06/__trashed-3/
Live at London Jazz Festival Nov 2019:
The award-winning Rayner-led ARQ completed the evening, much of the material coming from their recently released and well-received album Short Stories. The leader introduced the compositions and gave poignant background information about each. Highlights were pianist Steve Lodder’s Seeing Around Corners, with Cartwright’s raunchy blues-tinged guitar; the atmospheric soprano of Diane McLoughlin on the Scottish inspired Braw Boy; Buster Birch’s commanding drums on Buster Breaks A Beat; and the guitar and sax creating the sound of a didgeridoo on Croajingolong Bushwalk, Rayner’s highly percussive composition about the outback, with her resonant bass propelling the group. A highly enjoyable night.
Live at Wakefield Jazz Nov 2019
ARQ exuded a warmth and togetherness which can’t be reduced to ‘stage presence.’ There are plenty of ways that jazz ensembles can express expertise, creativity, and vitality, but surely few can do so in ways that are this much fun. The pleasure they had in performing was infectious.
The Whitman Review
Alison Rayner Quintet (ARQ)
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