Aerie ‘Sonic’ CD/DIG (QFTF) 3/5

Aerie have established themselves as a premiere European jazz band, highlighting the threads that tie jazz together: The experimentalism, the roots and the soul.

Bandleader, Ingo Hipp, hones in on the Avantgarde, surrounding himself with a trusted band of exceptional talent. Aerie has been compared to the likes of Steve Coleman’s Five Element; a comparison they can certainly stand! The sense of fluidity and flow in Aerie’s music mesmerises. The five members move in and out of what seem to be sometimes loosely constructed ideas. Some being very exotic, delivering high energy improvised music that could be the shape of “future-jazz-rock” to come.

This eight-track album fluctuates and transforms modal and expectant to loud and tempered and Hipp re-enlists the kinetic rhythm section of Matthew Jacobsen on drums and David Helm on bass. The two provide a groove centre throughout the set. Drummer Jacobsen stands out as a fast and creative listener who constantly drives the band and pushes ideas. Hipp and fellow saxophonist Sam Comerford provide the leads and tight vamps. Add to the mix guitarist Laurent Meteau, who’s proven to be another intrepid artist as he adds colour and texture. The connection between these players is superb, countering and engaging each other’s intentions.

“Sonic” is the second link in the maturing and progressive creative chain in one of Europe’s most interesting jazz bands. At the end of the day, though, it is about the music, and this release provides stimulation for both the mind and body.