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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 and a coveted Ivor Novello Composer Award for ‘There is a Crack in Everything’ from 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 will be recording a new album early next year.

Alison Rayner – bass
Buster Birch – drums
Deirdre Cartwright – guitar
Diane McLoughlin – saxophone
Steve Lodder – piano

• A collection of eight perfectly formed originals. ★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
• Memories brought to life. ★★★★ The Observer
• Tells its tales through strong melodies, sinewy rhythms and luminous solos, is by turns tender and exuberant. ★★★★ All About Jazz

★ Ivor Novello Composer Awards 2019 Alison Rayner
★ All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018 Ensemble of the Year
★ British Jazz Awards 2018 Best Small Group (Public Vote)


Opening act – Katie Bradley“Katie B has the voice of Big Mama Thornton and the heart of Memphis”  Joseph Woby, The Sunday Times

Songwriter and harmonica player Katie Bradley is renowned as a huge talent in the international Blues scene after receiving worldwide airplay and acclaim for her debut album in 2012 which was nominated for a British Blues award for her original song ‘I Hear The River’ .

World-famous harmonica maker Anthony Dannecker endorsed Katie Bradley with her own customised harps, uniquely hand crafted in response to her own unique playing style.

Katie has been recognised  with numerous Blues Awards and nominations both in the UK and Europe and performed with some of the Best Blues musicians in the UK and worldwide.  Her music has been played on the BBC Blues program and Jazz FM. She has recorded 4 studio albums and was invited to BBC Maidavale to sing with US Blues artist Kirk Fletcher with whom she toured the UK. Katie has shared the stage with Blues royalty such as Mud Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters) the late great Luther Allison and has supported artists such as Suzanne Vega, Lucky Peterson, Georgie Fame, Paul Jones, Taildragger. Katie’s appeal translates perfectly to concert and festival audiences. From London’s Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club to  International festivals and Clubs.

“Katie leaves you in no doubt that she is a 21st century Blues woman” Blues in Britain
“Katie’s roots lie deep in the essence of the Blues, a huge rich voice that gives praise to the legacy of Big mama Thornton and huge respect to Etta James”.  Broadstairs Blues Bash

Hosted by Maiuko.

Tickets £15
Doors 6.30pm | Unreserved seating
A PortCaia Production in association with The Tower Theatre



(Thursday) 7:30 pm