Long time collaborators Eugene Ball (trumpet), Ian Whitehurst (tenor saxophone), Joe Talia (drums) and Andrea Keller (piano) have been said to create music that is "a marker of just how good Australian jazz is (review of "Angels and Rascals" by Bev Stapleton AllAboutJazz.com, 12th January 2006). Their bass-less line up of instruments has been a leading force in developing an intimate chamber music-like approach to the compositions and improvisations performed by the group. Although the ensemble's repertoire and personnel are heavily influenced by and stem from the jazz tradition, each member also brings a wide array of experience from other genres, ranging from contemporary western art music through to electronica, all merging to create a strongly identifiable and unique sound.
Performing the distinctive compositions of pianist/composer Andrea Keller, the AKQ have released four albums, winning an ARIA award, a Bell Award and two ARIA nominations. In 2011 they were nominated for Jazz Ensemble of the Year at the Bell Awards.
The AKQ has performed extensively throughout Australia. Some highlights include appearances at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Summer Jazz Festival Canberra, Melbourne Women's International Jazz Festival, the Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival, the Devonport Jazz Festival TAS, the Four Winds Festival NSW, for the Melbourne Jazz Co operative, SIMA, Jazzgroove, Perth Jazz Society, ANU Canberra, Brisbane Jazz Club, the Studio/Sydney Opera House, opening for Charles Lloyd at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and a national tour in 2009.
Internationally the AKQ has performed at the Moers Festival (Germany) and the Copenhagen Jazz House (Denmark) (2007).
2010 saw the premier of two newly commissioned large works. The first a collaboration with ANU faculty staff (Canberra), and the second, a 60-minute work featuring the AKQ with String Quartet "Place" was commissioned by the Four Winds Festival NSW, generously funded by the Keir Foundation. The work was premiered at the Four Winds Festival (April 2010), recorded live for broadcast by the ABC and subsequently performed at the ANU Canberra and opened the 2011 Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival. "Place" received a nomination for Jazz composition of the year at the 2011 Bell Awards.
"Keller has one of Australia's most consistently interesting musical minds."
Review of "Little Claps" by Doug Spencer, www.abc.net.au/rn/weekendplanet/, August, 2007.
"Their music is both friendly and deep. Their colours and textures are brilliantly recorded on this disc, their best I think."
Review of "Little Claps" by John Clare, The Sydney Morning Herald, November, 2007.
"A beautifully conceived work with an awareness of both jazz tradition and aspects of modernist European art music- Keller and her players are consistently outstanding."
Review of "Little Claps" by Michael Webb, www.jazz.org.au, November, 2007.
"One of this country's most daring and fascinating composers, she produces work that bristles with surprises, a powerful blend of European lyricism with space and improvisation."
review of 'Angels and Rascals' by Leon Gettler. The AGE, May 5, 2005.
"Keller joins the more creative writers for this instrumentation worldwide."
Review of "Thirteen Sketches" by John Clare, MCA Music Forum, Oct-Nov, 2001.