Exposé Online banner

Mareike Wiening — Metropolis Paradise
(Greenleaf GRE 1073, 2019, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-11-28

Metropolis Paradise Cover art

Thinking about jazz groups led by drummers in my recent reviews, Mark Lomax, II is the most prominent, but I’ve also covered Sean Noonan, Jeff Siegel, John Hollenbeck (The Claudia Quintet), Marilyn Mazur, and Adam Rudolph (the latter two perhaps best deemed percussionists). Leaving it there, a wide range of sound is on exhibit, so it’s clearly not fair to make any generalizations about groups led by drummers, or where the drummer is the primary composer. German-born, New York-based Mareike Wiening leads this quintet featuring Johannes Felscher (bass), Alex Goodman (guitar), Rich Perry (tenor sax), and Dan Tepfer (piano), and her music does not at all feature her own playing over that of anyone else. Her playing is imaginative and supportive of the compositions, which are harmonically sophisticated and varied. There are touches of counterpoint reminiscent of classical music, and some lovely unexpected chord progressions. The interplay between piano, guitar, and sax is the highlight of the session, often featuring two of the three handling the lead melody in some form while the third weaves commentary around them. One thing you won’t hear much of is blues influence. Another is raw intensity — if Metropolis Paradise has a flaw, it’s that it’s too polite and centered on moderate tempos. Normally such low-intensity jazz would bore me, but Wiening’s tunes are good enough to keep my interest. While the music not confrontational, it’s also not schmaltzy. Attention is not demanded, but it is rewarded, with plenty of lovely choices in arrangement, and good performances from all the musicians. While I’d love to hear these players go for it with an energetic uptempo blowout, Wiening has proven herself a composer of note with this impressive set of tunes.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Mareike Wiening

More info
http://mareikewiening.bandcamp.com/album/metropolis-paradise

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gulââb - Veils of Mystery – Rarely do I receive a recording that makes me stand up and take notice. My jaded and tired ears perked up as I flew my astral plane while playing Veils of Mystery. What's this you ask, a trip to...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues