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Mareike Wiening - Reveal (Greenleaf)

10 November 2023

Three albums in, Cologne-based drummer/composer Mareike Wiening has made herself one of those artists – one whose latest record immediately vaults to the top of the buy/pre-order/save list upon announcement. Reveal may be her best so far. Fronting her longtime group of pianist Glenn Zaleski, guitarist Alex Goodman, bassist Johannes Feischer, and saxophonist Rich Perry, plus label boss Dave Douglas adding spots of trumpet, Wiening hits a certain sweet spot, one that encourages out playing and experimental structures while still observing the traditions of jazz melody and rhythm. That means Zaleski can wander all over a song like “Declaration of Truth,” while Wiening keeps it swinging, or “Time For Priorities” can open with near-cacophony before snapping into an accessible postbop tune. Not everything pushes envelopes – “Old Beginning” comes off like an old standard, while the appropriately named “Balada” (a *Ciprian Proumbescu” composition) sticks closely to the traditional form. The program leads to “The Girl By the Window,” a gently swinging, ultra-melodic tune that gives Douglas a chance to shine. Ultimately Wiening’s material falls on the melodic side, but that just makes it more exciting when a soloist goes off the rails for a bit. Beautiful stuff, with just enough bite to send shivers.