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Short Stories

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Jewel Case
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'Short Stories' is the third album by ARQ, a renowned and widely celebrated jazz group led by bassist Alison Rayner. Their long list of accolades includes winning 'Ensemble Of The Year' award at the prestigious 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and the People's Vote for 'Best Small Group' at the 2018 British Jazz Awards.

ARQ's music combines richly nuanced compositions, rhythmic interplay and folk-tinged melodies. Along with their love of improvisation, this creates a compelling and coherent whole, creating a strong sense of narrative and cinematic quality. ARQ are known for their vibrant, communicative performances, so remaining accessible and appealing to those who appreciate a range of genres.

As 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.'

As the co-founder of artist development partnership 'Blow The Fuse', Rayner has promoted jazz events and touring, also producing records on Blow the Fuse Records. Blow the Fuse have played a crucial role in promoting women jazz musicians for over 30 years.

Rayner has played on around 30 albums and performed with artists such as American guitar legend Tal Farlow, New York jazz poet Jayne Cortez and UK players such as Jean Toussaint, Ian Shaw and John Etheridge.

Personnel: Alison Rayner (double bass), Diane McLoughlin (saxophones), Deirdre Cartwright (guitar), Steve Lodder (piano), Buster Birch (drums, percussion)


"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 - The Jazzman

"Rayner is the band's bassist, and for some reason bass-playing jazz composers (Charles Mingus and Charlie Haden, for instance) seem particularly good at conjuring scenes and atmospheres." - **** The Observer

"Bubbles with upbeat virtuosity, sometimes hitting a Dave Brubeck feel but equally capable of ripping with impressive jazz-rock guitar." - The Arts Desk

"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

"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!

"Five outstanding musicians and eight evocative compositions make for an enjoyable listening experience whether you opt for CD, digital or vinyl. Their latest album is as exciting as their two previous albums - maybe more so." - Bebop Spoken Here

"Debbie McLoughlin's 'Buster Breaks a Beat' is a funksome dancer with Birch to the fore and rattling keys from Lodder, who is superb throughout...It all climaxes with the affirming 'Seeing Round Corners'." - Jazzwise


  1. Name
  2. Croajingolong Bushwalk
  3. Here and Now
  4. There is a Crack in Everything
  5. Buster Breaks a Beat
  6. A Braw Boy
  7. Life Lived Wide
  8. Colloquy
  9. Seeing Around Corners
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