An excellent month of gigs in September now sees four more in October. McGraw & Fer (2nd), Canadian award winning singer-songwriter Ian Sherwood (14th), jazz with girl power band, ARQ (26th), and finishing off October with top acoustic duo While & Matthews.

Cheers, Ian

ARQ Alison Rayner Quintet

Sun 26 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£14/12)Hen & Chicken Book


Led by bass player Alison Rayner, ARQ play melodic compositions with killer grooves, using influences from American swing, funk and dance music to contemporary jazz and European folk.

With her big warm acoustic sound, faultless time, tuning and taste and creative solo ability, she clearly belongs in the front rank of contemporary bassists. ~ Digby Fairweather

Bass player and composer Alison Rayner has been playing jazz and other styles of music since the mid-70s. In 1983 she joined critically acclaimed, groundbreaking all-female jazz group The Guest Stars and spent six years with them touring all the major international jazz venues and festivals in 17 countries and recording four albums. As well as leading ARQ, her funk and Latin inspired jazz quintet, Alison alsoperforms and records with Deirdre Cartwright’s Group, the Chris Hodgkins Quartet and US-based singer songwriter Zoe Lewis. London-based guitarist Deirdre Cartwright is regarded as one of only a handful of great international women jazz guitarists. She first became well known in the 80s as the guitar presenter of the BBC TV series Rockschool. With Alison they have led the way in UK jazz’s female representation and contributed hugely to the Blow The Fuse organisation in London who teach, promote, compose and perform new jazz music.

The band also features Steve Lodder who is no stranger to Bristol audiences having played for many years with Andy Sheppard in four of his bands, as well as duo and trio work. Highly regarded sideman for many international and London musicians including: George Russell’s “Living Time” orchestra, classical saxophonist John Harle, and Carla Bley more

While & Matthews: ***** 20th Anniversary Tour *****

Thu 30 Oct 7:30 for 8:15 (£13/11)Hen & Chicken Book


The multi-award winning Chris While & Julie Matthews are out on tour this year celebrating their 20th Anniversary of performing as a duo. Along the way the have amassed a loyal army of fans who constantly yearn for new material and recordings each year. To fulfil that need they are releasing their new CD Who We Are which can be bought at the gigs, prior to release in November.

However they always try ways to reach new audiences and have issued an offer to all newcomers. So if you can bring a friend along to a While & Matthews gig and experience the girls LIVE, they will give the newcomers a free Best Of album. For seasoned followers they have launched a loyalty card system, original art work prints and a package of two back catalogue CD’s on a special price. Check their webpage below for full details. They are also running an ‘Online request’ page from which they will choose selected tunes from the audiences.

So plenty of good reasons to come along and listen to this supremely talented and professional pairing, you will be in for a thoroughly entertaining evening on many levels. more