Chris Hodgkins Quartet

In 2005, Chris Hodgkins Trio featuring Alison Rayner on double bass and Max Brittain on guitar, released Present Continuous and Future Continuous followed a year later. In 2008 the Chris Hodgkins Quartet featuring Alison Rayner on bass, Max Brittain on guitar and Dianne McLoughlin on alto sax released an album based on Boswell’s London Journal, co-composed by Chris Hodgkins and Eddie Harvey and arranged by Eddie Harvey.

The Chris Hodgkins Jazz Quartet album, Boswell’s London Journal, garnered critical praise and scooping the Evening Standard’s prestigious Jazz CD of the Week slot. Boswell’s London Journal is inspired by the daily diary kept by James Boswell, best known as the biographer of Dr Samuel Johnson, between 1762 and 1763. The album perfectly captures this account of a very different London to today, as seen through the eyes of the 22 year old Scot, and offers an emotionally charged landscape that amply illustrates the human condition: from the low and the vulgar to profound conversations with Samuel Johnson, the real-life incidents in the London Journal offered the composers a wealth of rich material for the album’s suite of 15 original tunes.

Chris Hodgkins Quartet
Left to right: Max Brittain, Alison Rayner, Diane McLoughlin, Chris Hodgkins, 2008

Max Brittain’s inventive and sensitive guitar playing has accompanied a diverse range of musical greats including the late Humphrey Lyttelton, Ronnie Scott, Cleo Laine, Georgie Fame, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessell, and Marion Montgomery, as well as the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1990 he was invited to establish the electric guitar faculty at Eton College.

Bass player and composer Alison Rayner has been playing jazz and other contemporary music since the mid-70s. She spent five years in the 80s with critically acclaimed jazz/Latin group The Guest Stars, touring all major international jazz venues and festivals and recording three albums. She currently leads ARQ, her contemporary jazz quintet, described as ‘a beautifully integrated band’ **** by Dave Gelly in the Observer; ARQ have built a substantial and wide-ranging audience over the past three years of touring. Their recent second album ‘A Magic Life’ has had national and international radio play, with outstanding reviews in the jazz and national press:

‘A gorgeous album, synthesising mood, melody and the interplay between musicians totally at home with each other.’ **** Jazzwise

Rayner also performs and records with, amongst others, Deirdre Cartwright’s Groups, trumpeter Chris Hodgkins’ quartet and vocalists Carol Grimes and Zoe Lewis.

She has co-run Blow the Fuse Records & Blow the Fuse Jazz Club in London since 1989, performing with artists such as American jazz guitar legend Tal Farlow, New York jazz poet Jayne Cortez, Denardo Coleman, Peter King and John Etheridge.

Rayner teaches on jazz summer schools in the UK and abroad; composes for and examines for an international music exam board and is an endorsee for Picato Innovation double bass strings.

Diane McLoughlin is well known on the London jazz scene as a saxophone player and composer. After studying jazz performance and composition at the Guildhall School of Music, she wrote for, and directed, her own 17-piece jazz orchestra Giant Steppes. In addition to this, Diane led the quirky Di’s New Outfit, which blended improvised music with European cabaret styles. She also composed for her own contemporary jazz quartet, co-created Zdravets with piano and accordion player Kim Burton, and the Boogie Wonderland Big Band. At present she is writing for and playing in her own jazz ensembles