Jan 2023 News from the Fuse

We are honoured to have been offered the opportunity to programme ‘Jazz in the House’ at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park, Highgate following the death of Brian Blain last October. This long standing series of modern, world class jazz was run and hosted by Brian for over 25 years.

Our relationship with Lauderdale House and Brian goes back many years. Deirdre’s mother walked her as a baby in Waterlow Park and both of us lived locally for many years. Brian was a friend of ours from the 1980s and we first encountered him whilst playing in the Guest Stars, through his work with the Musicians Union. We truly valued his support and our many interesting chats about life, art, politics and music. We were very saddened by his passing but we are looking forward to continue keeping live jazz at Lauderdale House and enabling it to thrive and develop.

‘Blow the Fuse’ featuring the acclaimed team of Deirdre Cartwright and Alison Rayner will continue Brian’s legacy with a new programme of jazz starting on Thursday May 4th 2023. Award-winning musicians Deirdre and Alison have run their own jazz club for over 30 years and will carry forward ‘Jazz in the House’ in the spirit of Brian Blain and his tireless support for musicians and live music.

Blow the Fuse jazz club continues to be in the heart of Stoke Newington in the superb space of St Matthias Hall and St Matthias Church.

Fri 24 March  Sarah Jane Morris & Solis String Quartet BOOK

We expect this to be one of the stand out events of 2023.

  • The amazing four octave voice of Sarah Jane Morris,
  • The sublime musicianship of the Italian Solis String Quartet
  • The beautiful setting of St Matthias Church, Stoke Newington’s only Grade I listed building.
  • And this is their ONLY London show.

Fri 28 Apr BTF Jazz Club Sea Change  St Matthias Hall N16 8DD
An evening to celebrate the life of Al Rider.


Autumn 2022 News from the Fuse

Hello and welcome to our Autumn 2022 roundup.

We’re very excited to be back in the heart of Stoke Newington for our new season in the superb space of St Matthias Hall and St Matthias Church.

Two ‘Tomorrow the Moon’ gigs

14 October Alex Clarke + BTF Allstars BOOK
18 November ARQ + Balledestre London Jazz Festival BOOK
10 Dec Electric Landladies North London Xmas Party BOOK

This season has been generously supported by DissentersN16 as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations.

11 Dec Electric Landladies South London Xmas Party BOOK


Watch out for regular slots at Ronnie Scott’s and the Clapton Country Club from Deirdre Cartwright, Electric Landladies will be LIVE in St Matthias Hall and New Cross Inn in December 10th & 11th and if any of you are thinking now’s the time to put on that postponed birthday, anniversary celebration then do get in touch. The Electric Landladies play at many a private ‘do’ and a wonderful and fun evening is guaranteed!

SPRING 2022 News from the Fuse!

Blow the Fuse jazz club is once again back in Stoke Newington!

We’re very excited to be back in the heart of Stoke Newington for our new 2022 season in the superb space of St Matthias Hall, generously supported by DissentersN16 as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations.  St Matthias Hall, Wordsworth Road N16 8DD.


Friday 27 May Deirdre Cartwright’s PICNIC feat. Annie Whitehead
This gig is selling out so book….

Inspirational, upbeat jazz with South African, Latin and Reggae influences.
Picnic make absorbing and life affirming music.

Deirdre Cartwright Guitar • Annie Whitehead Tbn • Alison Rayner Bass • Winston Clifford Drums

Supported by RSL Awards.


Friday 24 June Carol Grimes & Friends

Carol Grimes is a towering presence in the UK music scene; from busking in the streets as a teenager to touring internationally with contemporary classical group The Shout. 

Carol Grimes Vocal • Steve Lodder Pno • Deirdre Cartwright Gtr • Alison Rayner Bass • Winston Clifford Drums

Supported by RSL Awards.


St Matthias Hall, Wordsworth Road, N16 8DD.
Doors 7pm | Music 8-10:30pm
Bar till 11pm. Food available.

Easy ground floor access and street parking available. Drive down Belgrade Road from Stokey High Street.

Thanks to the generous support of DissentersN16 as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations. 

Our first night Friday 22nd April was a real opening night celebration featuring a double bill of River Cruz and Michele Drees.

New quartet River Cruz, four celebrated musicians and their Cruz patrons – Penelope and Celia! Latin influences, Bossa Nova, Afro-Cuban grooves and a great sense of fun. Plus the Latin influence continues with supporting act Michele Drees on Brazilian guitar and vocals in Portuguese and English.

Deirdre Cartwright Guitar • Diane McLoughlin Sax • Alison Rayner Bass • Jessica Palin Congas & Percussion

ARQ on tour:

If you’re not in the London, Bath, or Suffolk areas, check out the gig list below. Alison’s quintet ARQ will be playing a series of concerts all over the country from April. Check out the first dates below…

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.’

Check out Alison’s website HERE for ARQ videos, music and touring dates this Spring.


Walthamstow Trades Hall

Saturday 21 May 2022 BOOK

Mrs Dates Diary:

  • Fri 18 Mar River Cruz Widcombe Social Club, Bath BOOK
  • Sat 19 Mar River Cruz Vela Arts Cafe Saxmundham, Suffolk BOOK
  • Sun 27 Mar Deirdre Cartwright /Jenny Carr duo 1pm Clapton Country Club, London E5
  • Sat 2 Apr ARQ Scarborough Music Centre
  • Sun 3 Apr ARQ Leeds Seven Arts 1.30pm BOOK
  • Fri 22 Apr BTF Jazz River Cruz + Michele Drees St Matthias Hall, N16 8DD BOOK
  • Tues 26 Apr ARQ London East Side Jazz Club 8pm BOOK
  • Thurs 28 Apr ARQ Folkestone Tower Theatre BOOK
  • Sat 30 Apr ARQ Ribble Valley Jazz festival 3.30pm BOOK
  • Sat14 May ARQ Birmingham Jazz Festival 2pm BOOK
  • Sun 15 May ARQ Colchester Arts Centre Jazz Club BOOK
  • Sat 21 May ELECTRIC LANDLADIES Walthamstow Trades Club BOOK
  • Fri 27 May BTF Jazz Deirdre Cartwright’s PICNIC feat. Annie WhiteheadSt Matthias Hall,N16 8DD BOOK
  • Fri 17 Jun ARQ York NCEM BOOK
  • Sat18 Jun ARQ Sage Gateshead BOOK
  • Fri 24 Jun BTF Jazz Carol Grimes St Matthias Hall, N16 8DD BOOK
  • Sun26 Jun ARQ Naturist Jazz Festival, Orpington
  • Sat 9 Jul Deirdre Cartwright /Alison Rayner w/ Lynda Murray St Leonards Festival
  • Sun 10 Jul ARQ Swanage Jazz Festival 2pm BOOK
  • Thurs 4 Aug Deirdre Cartwright /Ciyo Brown Two for the Road Upstairs at Ronnie Scotts

See you at a LIVE gig soon but don’t forget the wonderful archive we now have on Blow the Fuse ‘On Air’ our series of lockdown online concerts, now with over 12,000 views on You Tube and Facebook!

All shows can now be viewed on our You Tube channel HERE

Shows feature Carol Grimes, Deirdre Cartwright, Liane Carroll, Annie Whitehead, The Guest Stars 1985 film, Martha & Eve + DaDa Dandies, The Casimir Connection, Ian Shaw and ARQ.

Please subscribe to our Blow the Fuse YouTube channel – it’s totally free to do so.

Thank you for your continued support of live music and the Arts.

“The only truth is music.” Jack Kerouac

N E W S  F R O M  T H E  F U S E

* New interview from Alison Rayner on London Jazz News as she reveals influences and stories about the new ARQ album ’Short Stories’.  READ

* Alison has a new website for herself and ARQ www.alisonrayner.com – oh wow!

* More new albums with The Casimir Connection album launch next week Thurs 26 September at the Vortex BOOK

* Electric landladies announce competition for BEST RETRO OUTFIT at their fabulous Christmas party Sat 7 December BOOK

News about ARQ on tour around the country, the London Jazz Festival opening night at Kings Place concert hall celebrating 30 years of Blow the Fuse and many more great gigs. Keep on reading…..

* Coming up Thursday week Blow the Fuse new season at the Vortex with The Casimir Connection on 26 September. Diane Mcloughlin’s wonderfully evocative quartet launch their album Cause and Effect. With influences from Keith Jarrett to Poulenc, Bartok and Balkan folk music, The Casimir Connection is a jazz chamber group for the modern era. BOOK

ARQ (Alison Rayner Quintet) release their new album ‘Short Stories’ on25 October and are touring all over England. Come and see us if we’re in your area! Dates below. Tour starts in South East London on 29 September!  BOOK

* Tickets for 15 November EFG London Jazz Festival featuring ARQ, The Guest Stars and JFrisco are selling fast. There are still some good seats left… but they are selling out… BOOK

* Electric Landladies Xmas Party Saturday 7 December Boston Music Room, opp. Tufnell Pk tube station. Fabulous dance band, competition for best retro outfit – definitely the most fun you’ll have this Christmas!  BOOK


Mrs Dates Diary: 2019

  • Thursday 26 SeptemberThe Casimir Connection Vortex Jazz Club BOOK
  • Sunday 29 September ARQAlbany Empire, Deptford BOOK
  • Monday 30 September ARQAshburton Arts Centre, South Devon INFO
  • Tuesday 1 October ARQSt Ives Jazz Club, Cornwall INFO
  • Friday 5 October ARQNC Jazz, Northants BOOK
  • Friday 11 October ARQBracknell Jazz INFO
  • Saturday 12 October ARQMarsden Jazz Festival BOOK
  • Sunday 13 October ARQLeeds Jazz 1:30pm BOOK
  • Thursday 17 October Deirdre Cartwright Groupfeaturing Louise Elliott Vortex Jazz Club BOOK
  • Friday 8 November ARQWakefield Jazz Club BOOK
  • Saturday 9 November ARQVerdict, Brighton INFO
  • Friday 15 November BTF 30 years ARQ/The Guest Stars/J Frisco EFG London Jazz Festival BOOK
  • Saturday 7 December Electric LandladiesBoston Music Room BOOK
  • Thursday 12 December Picnic featuring Annie Whitehead Vortex Jazz Club BOOK


Resistance Season 2019 & Debbie Dickinson RIP

Hello everyone

Can you believe it’s been 30 years since Blow the Fuse began running a regular jazz night in the theatre at the Duke of Welly on the Balls Pond Road in 1989?
Since then there’s been The Happening, Emma Peel Fan Club, Electric Landladies, the Kings Head Theatre, Samuel Pepys, the old Vortex, the new Vortex, 14 album releases and then ARQ won Jazz Ensemble of the Year in 2018.
Children have been born and grown up, family members have passed away, many dear friends have gone from this life and still the music plays on.

With all this in mind and with a nod to our slightly ‘electric’ name, our new season is called ‘Resistance.’ Yes, Blow the Fuse is like a movement. Despite the vagaries of funding from different bodies which have left us high and dry so many times, we know we have the most wonderful followers, friends and fans. We could not have continued all this time without your support and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Resistance badges and T-shirts will be out soon 🙂

We announce with very heavy hearts the death of Debbie Dickinson. She was a close personal friend, our ’Seventh Sister’ in The Guest Stars and a great supporter of Blow the Fuse. We knew Debbie for nearly 40 years. From the days of the Sisterhood of Spit, Sunday nights at the Kings Head, and as the manager of The Guest Stars she toured the world with us. She was a strong, brave, funny and intrepid woman who was greatly loved by all of us and who will be sadly missed by the larger jazz community, her partner Lorraine and her friends, colleagues and students at City University. Feeling your warmth and seeing you smiling on us still….we miss you.


Tribute to Debbie Dickinson by John Cumming

NOV 2018 News from the Fuse

What a month we’ve had, talk about the 73 bus! Last week, ARQ won ‘Jazz Ensemble of the Year’ in the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards and now ARQ is the ‘People’s choice’ in Best Small Group in the 2018 British Jazz Awards! In the same awards, Alison came runner up in the Double Bass player of the year category, Alexandra Ridout, who we featured last year in our Tomorrow the Moon series, was Rising Star and Winston Clifford was Jazz Drummer of the year. Thank you to all those who voted for us! We’re sooooo proud and you can join in the celebrations THIS Thursday at the Vortex… And in the meantime, read Alison’s new interview/feature in London Jazz News: HERE

ARQ: Alison Rayner Quintet Thursday 8 November at the Vortex

2018 has been a great year for the band, with UK festivals and club dates, a great tour of Germany in September – and now winning ‘Jazz Ensemble of the Year’ in the prestigious 2018 All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

Come along to the Vortex to celebrate with us! Tickets on sale now! BOOK while you can still get a table.

‘Inventive, vibrantly colourful and unfailingly melodic, possessed of a strong sense of narrative and cinematic quality, frequently inspired by personal experiences’ (the jazzman.com)

And coming up in December…

THE ELECTRIC LANDLADIES  Friday 7 December at Boston Music Rooms


A great and groovy night with anthems from the Pretenders & Eurythmics, Beyonce and Stevie Wonder, rock out to Janis Joplin and Free, throw in some disco from the Trammps and Chic and classic 60s soul… it’s going to be a brilliant party!

The Boston Music Room is directly opposite Tufnell Park tube station, lots of good places to eat round there – and there’s a reduced price for advance tickets too.

Mrs Dates Diary:


  • Thursday 8 Nov ARQ Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston BOOK
  • Wednesday 14 Paint it Blue Deirdre Cartwright & Rachel Bartlett Hackney Empire Bar, E8 1EJ.
  • Monday 19 ARQ Edinburgh Traverse Theatre
  • Tuesday 20 ARQ Eyemouth Hippodrome
  • Wednesday 21ARQ Edinburgh Jazz Bar
  • Thursday 22 ARQ Newcastle The Globe
  • Friday 23 ARQYork The Basement


  • Friday 7 December The Electric Landladies XmasParty  at the Boston Music Room (behind Boston Arms & opposite Tufnell Park tube) BOOK
  • Thursday 13 DecemberDeirdre Cartwright PLAY group featuring Louise Elliott (sax/flute) at the Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston BOOK


Yes it’s Spring from a Vernal Equinox point of view and it’s been lovely to see a bit of sunshine and blue skies.

However, we know you’ve really been waiting for the Blow the Fuse news catchup and fun things to do on an evening.

Are some of you in long term relationships? We welcome couples! Prefer it on your own? Many of our supporters find our events very friendly! On your own but a bit miserable? See item before. Yes expand your mind and your social circle with BTF!

N E W S   F R O M   T H E   F U S E

We have two great gigs coming up at The Vortex. On April 12th we feature Helena Kay, a young sax player who has already won Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year 2015 and was the winner of this year’s prestigious Peter Whittingham Jazz Award. She leads her KIM trio and in a double bill, we’ll be playing with a wonderful young trumpet player, Charlotte Keeffe.

Come and support these outstanding young women musicians BOOK TICKETS

Coming up on May 10, ARQ return to the Vortex, and if you haven’t seen this great group led by Alison Rayner, well you simply must!

‘Inspired by real-world ideas, people and situations but infused with the kind of heady imagination that transforms their resonances into a series of vivacious musical adventures’ ***** BBC Music Magazine




April dates

•Thurs 12 The Vortex, N16 Tomorrow the Moon V Helena Kay + Charlotte Keeffe BOOK
•Wed 11 Hackney Empire bar Deirdre Carwright & Rachel Bartlett ‘Paint it Blue’. Jazz and Latin classics.
•Thurs 19 ‘Blues 62’ Luigi’s Jazz Cellar at the Trattoria da Luigi, 98 Stoke Newington Church St N16 0AP £6

May dates

• Thurs 3 ARQ Jazz Coventry INFO/BOOK
• Wed 11 Hackney Empire bar Deirdre Carwright & Rachel Bartlett ‘Paint it Blue’. Jazz and Latin classics.
• Thurs 10 ARQ The Vortex, N16 BOOK
• Sat 12 ARQ Bromley Youth Music trust Workshop & Gig INFO

Tomorrow the Moon V 

Blow the Fuse is supported by PRS Foundation’s Open Fund


New Year 2018

Hello and welcome to a New Year News Roundup

2017 ended with a terrific performance from the Electric Landladies, we’ll be posting videos and photos onto facebook and our website this week, and a wonderful evening from JFrisco and Kathy Dyson/Deirdre Cartwright at the Vortex.

We’re now in the Spring phase of our Tomorrow the Moon season at the Vortex, yes the days are getting lighter and so are we! Deirdre’s on ‘Couch to 5k’ and we’re all running round for the next round of events. ARQ are touring and we have an International Women’s Day event at The Old Church on Friday 9 March featuring one of the world’s greatest cabaret singers – Barb Jung. She’ll be featuring songs from Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel and Leonard Cohen.

So here are four highlights from the season for you:

•Annie Whitehead/Rosie Turton double bill at the Vortex, Thurs 25 January. Two trombone led groups blending jazz with African and Indian influences. BOOK TICKETS

•Claudia Lang-Colmer & Crissy Lee were the double bass player and drummer from the 1950’s and 1960’s Ivy Benson Big Band and can they swing! Thurs 15 Feb Vortex. They’re joined by Ann O’Dell, piano and Alison Cawley sax BOOK TICKETS

•ARQ at London Soho Pizza Express Jazz Club Wednesday 21 Feb.  VIDEO & BOOK TICKETS

Led by Alison Rayner, ARQ feature infectious grooves, lyrical melodies, jazz with folk, rock, classical and other world music influences.

•Celebrate International Women’s Day with Barb Jungr + Solar Flares Friday 9 March BOOK TICKETS

More dates below for your diary starting tomorrow and we look forward to seeing you at a gig soon


January dates

  • Wednesday 10 Hackney Empire bar Deirdre Carwright & Rachel Bartlett ‘Paint it Blue’. Jazz and Latin classics.
  • Thursday 11 Blues 62 Luigi’s Jazz Cellar at the Trattoria da Luigi, Stoke Newington Church Street
  • Thursday 25 The Vortex, N16
    Tomorrow the Moon V Annie Whitehead with the BTF all stars
    plus Rosie Turton Quintet BOOK

February dates

Thursday 15 February  The Vortex, N16 Tomorrow the Moon V

Claudia Lang-Colmer & Crissy Lee (Ivy Benson Reunion band) come to ‘Swing the Vortex’


March dates

Friday 9 The Old Church, Stoke Newington Church Street.
Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day
Barb Jungr + Solar Flares BOOK NOW

Tomorrow the Moon V
Blow the Fuse is supported by PRS Foundation’s Open Fund

March 2017 gig news ARQ & My Generation


It’s March and finally it feels like Spring – and we’re soon springing off!
Yes, next week Blow the Fuse takes to the road again with Alison’s group ARQ.

We’ll be playing in Sheffield, Nottingham, Lincoln and Leeds so we’d be delighted to see any of you –
or if you have friends there, do please let them know to come along and support ARQ.


Wednesday 8 March Sheffield, the Lescar
Thursday 9 March Nottingham, Bonington Theatre
Friday 10 March Lincoln, The Collection
Saturday 11 March Leeds, Jazz at Heart

We were very excited to receive another wonderful review this week for ARQ’s new album ‘A Magic Life’ – this time from Chris Searle in the Morning Star. We were trying to remember if we have been mentioned in that paper since Bea Campbell travelled with Jam Today to Amsterdam in 1976 and reviewed our gig in the Vondelpark. Ah…memories.

However, coming right up to date in 2017, here is a quote from Chris’ lovely review:
An album of unified musical dexterity, with not a note wasted and with sound as story – clear and undisguised, deeply affecting and unashamedly open”
Thank you, Chris.

Finally, the new Blow the Fuse season ‘My Generation’ starts on Thursday 6 April at the Vortex in Dalston.
MY GENERATION features a wonderful line up of mini double bills and women musicians who grew up listening to music on vinyl and transistor radio… and decided that they also wanted to PLAY! Inspiration from Joni Mitchell to Suzi Quatro, mostly self taught, they became the first wave of women musicians in the 1970s and 1980s.

Thursday 6 April an evening exploring bossa nova and latin jazz, featuring Michele Drees on guitar and vocals – singing in Portugese – and also playing drums with Emily Remembered – Kathy Dyson & Deirdre Cartwright’s beautiful guitar project remembering the great US guitarist Emily Remler.
with Alison Rayner on double bass
Tickets are on sale now

ARQ new album released

We’re all very excite here at the BTF hub as we announce the release of the latest ARQ album A Magic Life. Release Date 18 November 2016

The music is bursting with melodic and harmonic references from jazz, classical and folk musics. Rayner cites both Charlie Haden and Eberhard Weber as influences – but there is always a strong sense of Rayner’s musical personality evident in the poignant folk-inspired melodies, rootsy grooves, Hendrix stoked guitar in Mayday and improvisational invention.

Steve Lodder piano
Deirdre Cartwright guitar
Diane McLoughlin tenor, soprano saxophones
Alison Rayner bass
Buster Birch drums

Alison Rayner: ‘I was inspired to call the album A Magic Life because of two recent incidents. The loss of a friend last year, who wrote in her own epitaph about how magic her life had been; then a chance encounter with a young boy, who asked me “Is music stronger than magic?” I replied that to me, music is a merging of magic and logic. These events set me on a course of thinking about connections between memory, mortality, magic – and music.’

1. A MAGIC LIFE 05:25



4. MAYDAY 03:55

5. NEW DAY 08:43

6. SWANAGE BAY 07:07



The band is touring England Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017 – see Gig page for more details.