Drummer/composer Mareike Wiening finds joy and hope during troubled times on Reveal, her third album for Greenleaf Music.

Released November 10, 2023, featuring Dave Douglas.


As she set out to conceive the music for her third album as a leader, drummer/composer Mareike Wiening [pronounced: Mar-EYE-kuh VEE-ning] glanced around and discovered a wealth of potential inspirations in the tumultuous events of recent years. Of course, there were the global upheavals that we’ve all watched unfold with bated breath: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, political divisiveness in the U.S., Europe and beyond.

Then there were the life-altering experiences that took place closer to home: Wiening moved back to her native Germany in 2018 after six years in New York, settling in Cologne. She suffered the death of a close family member after witnessing a slow decline in health, and she’s reaching a stage of life where societal pressures to settle down and start a family begin to strongly impinge. All of this set against the backdrop of an uncertain future for the music industry as inflation soars in Germany.

Realizing that such heady subjects could result in a decidedly stark and somber album, Wiening chose not to react but to reveal, searching inward for the warmth and spirit that connected her with music in the first place. On Reveal, her third album for Greenleaf Music, Wiening has crafted her richest and most deeply personal music to date.

“Personally and as a musician, I’ve been in so many situations in the past few years where the future feels insecure or questionable,” Wiening says. “I really wanted to listen deep inside myself and find the joy and hope in music.”

Reveal reunites Wiening once again with her longtime working band: tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Glenn Zaleski, guitarist Alex Goodman and bassist Johannes Felscher. They are joined on three tracks by esteemed trumpeter and Greenleaf founder Dave Douglas, a fervent supporter throughout Wiening’s career.

“Mareike’s become a real force on the scene and I am honored to have been called for this new record date,” Douglas says. “It felt great to play with her and all the band members.”

Despite her relocation to Germany, Wiening’s musical life remains focused on New York City, and in particular on this stellar group of musicians. The quintet was formed in 2014 while the drummer was pursuing her Master’s degree at New York University and has become essential to her musical imagination over the ensuing decade. “From the beginning, this quintet has been my band,” Wiening emphasizes. “I’m not technically a composer – I’m a drummer and I compose only for my band. I know that I can write down whatever I have in my head and they’ll know how to translate it into music. I can trust them, which is very helpful emotionally. They’ve really become my family.”

Reveal, like all of Wiening’s work, never indulges in the kit pyrotechnics that mark the cliché “drummer’s date.” She is a nuanced and subtle player who shapes the music with a delicate sculptor’s finesse, her playing and composing inextricable from one another, the familiar voices of her bandmates becoming an extension of her own thought process.

“When I write music, the drums are usually the last thing I’m thinking about,” she says. “People sometimes point out that there are rarely long drum solos on my records or even in my concerts, but I feel like you can already hear what I want to express in the tunes, so having a drum solo on every song would be redundant.”

Wiening does take the spotlight from time to time, as in the psychedelic opening moments of “Time for Priorities,” when she pairs off with Goodman’s backwards-mutated guitar. Surprisingly this leads into a bright Latin groove, reflecting the determination to emerge from the darkness that fuels the album as a whole. Zaleski’s lush, resonant chords set the tone for “Old Beginning,” an ode to rebirth that questions how life can expect to go on when it’s so constantly disrupted by ungovernable events.

Wiening switches to brushes for “Encore,” whispering beneath Felscher’s eloquent solo before bursting into an anthemic head, receding again for Perry’s gently probing turn. Goodman and Zaleski pair off for the agitated intro to “Declaration of Truth,” a dizzyingly intricate puzzle that the band solves brilliantly.

The sole piece not composed by Wiening, “Balada” is an unexpected adaptation of a classical piece by 19th century Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu. Inspired by the war in Ukraine, Wiening asked a friend to recommend some Eastern European folk and classical songs. “I was fascinated by their rhythms and strong melodies,” she describes. I discovered a lot of great music that I’d never heard of before, but this ballad stood out. The melody stuck in my head for a long time, so I started to write different arrangements of it until it took the shape it has here.”

Greenleaf and Douglas have also been part of Wiening’s extended family since her full-length debut, Metropolis Paradise, in 2019. (Dan Tepfer stepped in on piano for that date after Zaleski had a bicycle accident prior to the session.) Future Memories followed on the same imprint in 2021, this time with the full quintet intact.

His involvement made Douglas the ideal choice for the band’s first invited guest. “I’ve always been very inspired by how prolific and eclectic Dave’s music is,” Wiening explains. “While composing, I was looking for something new, something I wanted to develop, and I realized that I wanted to add another voice. I immediately thought of Dave.”

“Mareike’s music always has a lightness to it,” Douglas says. “Not a lightness in the sense of easy or simple — a lightness of movement, fleet, and often deceptively floating through time, without being insistent. One of the things that strikes me in playing with Mareike is how much her drumming is shaped around the music without overwhelming or imposing on the music. Like the best bandleaders, Mareike’s strategy seems to be to make everyone else sound as good as they can.”

As Douglas and Perry hail from a similar generation and have both been mainstays across a variety of NYC jazz scenes for decades, Wiening naturally assumed that they’d crossed paths often over the years. She was shocked to discover that Reveal would mark only their second meeting ever, more than fifteen years after recording together on pianist Fred Hersch’s 1995 release Point in Time.

Wiening makes the most of the pairing on Douglas’ three appearances. She penned “Choral Anthem” with the two in mind, sketching the composition in more skeletal form than usual so as to leave plenty of space for the frontline to explore. During the mesmerizing opening the leader provides the only accompaniment, with Wiening’s drums taking on an evocative and atmospheric role.

Douglas returns on the muscular, swinging title track, its bristling energy very much in the mold of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers; and on the tender closing track, “The Girl By the Window,” named for (and channeling the soft-hued style of) a painting by American Impressionist T.C. Steele.

Multi-faceted and intriguing, moving and exhilarating, Reveal is ultimately exactly what the title promises: a revelation.

Mareike Wiening studied jazz drums in Mannheim, Copenhagen, and New York City, resided in NYC for six years, and returned to Germany in 2019. Since 2022, she has been a jazz drum instructor at the Zurich University of the Arts. Mareike has performed worldwide with top-tier musicians.

Track Details

1. Time for Priorities
2. Choral Anthem
3. Reveal
4. Encore
5. Declaration of Truth
6. Balada
7. Old Beginning
8. The Girl by the Window


Mareike Wiening – Drums
Rich Perry – Tenor Saxophone
Glen Zeleski – Piano
Alex Goodman – Guitar
Johannes Felscher – Double Bass
With Special Guest Dave Douglas – Trumpet (Tracks 2,3,8)

Production Credits

Compositions and arrangements by Mareike Wiening (GEMA), except Balada (composed by Ciprian Porumbescu).
Executive Producer: Dave Douglas
Produced by Mareike Wiening
Recording dates: June 23rd and 24th, 2023
Recorded at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY
Recording engineer: Aaron Nevezie
Mixing and Mastering engineer: Dave Darlington
Photographer: Luke Marantz
Gaphic designer: Frank Hoeger, Ratdesign


“Beautiful stuff, with just enough bite to send shivers.” – Michael Toland, The Big Takeover

“At nearly every turn one finds rays of hope emanating though the performances. Indeed the performances are the key aspects to that hope.” – ★★★★ Michael J. West, Downbeat Magazine

“A mature and thoughtful composer….qualities well in evidence on this fine album” – Rick Anderson, CD Hot List

“Mareike’s compositions are strong, her overall concept is mature and musical, her drum and cymbal sound are warm and lush. A very “revealing” record led by a fantastic young drummer who we should all be following” –Modern Drummer

“…rhythmically complex, clever compositions… that are put together like a sophisticated puzzle.” – Mane Stelter, Melodiva

Press Inquiries

Antje Hübner
Hubtone PR


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Facebook: @mareikewieningmusic