Marriage Material

MM Chairs Pic by Steven Haberland_web
Felix Lehrmann   drums

Thomas Stieger   bass

Raphael Meinhart   vibes, marimba, synths

Arto Mäkelä   guitar

 “breathtaking playfulness”
– Jazzthing – 

 “A really strong debut!”
– Drums & Percussion – 

Marriage Material overwhelm with the force of a sledgehammer, surprise with filigree lightness and draw from a world of different sound influences. The band is driven by Felix Lehrmann’s powerful, precise drumming, grounded by the unerring pulse of bassist Thomas Stieger. Finnish guitarist Arto Mäkelä and Austrian Raphael Meinhart on vibraphone, marimba and synths give this quartet its unique flavor. 

The four musicians truly present a completely unique band sound. “Of course we are all shaped by our heroes like Zawinul, Pastorius, Zappa or Tribal Tech, by their versatility and open minded playing,” says Felix Lehrmann. “In the end, however, we are always guided by whether an idea is strong. No matter where the influence may come from, we want to give our music its own stamp and clear recognition value”. 

“Thanks to their openness to all musical styles, Lehrmann and his three colleagues, with guests like Kurt Rosenwinkel and Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr, were a great success. After all, where else have you heard complex chords played so effortless, which even let bluegrass, prog rock and pop gleam through happily.” (Jazzthing). So for their compositions they threw all the styles they love into one pot. Paying respect to their role models, they belong to the few bands that actually sound completely unique. 

The results are brilliant original compositions with highly energetic, profound and original announcements to the jazz world. Music that creates complex images and moods. For pigeonholing, it can be called fusion, world music, modern jazz or even progressive jazz rock. The four band members prefer the term “Cinematic Jazz”. In fact, they are much more. Marriage Material create a captivating, multi-layered widescreen sound – sometimes subliminally smoldering, then again with impressive force.  

The band was founded in 2020 by Felix Lehrmann and Thomas Stieger, longtime colleagues from the Berlin scene. Arto Mäkelä and the other two had a close musical collaboration that took them through a wide variety of genres such as jazz, pop, rock and alternative. Mäkelä, originally from Tampere/Finland, moved to Leipzig for his studies, so the three soon met. “The three of us always felt a strong connection in our interactions, no matter what style we played.” Meinhart, originally from Graz/Austria, moved to Berlin for his studies, where things finally came full circle. In addition to numerous tours and studio work as sidemen with various artists, they all shared their love for intensive, virtuoso instrumental music. So the four musicians decided in 2019 to arrange a studio date where they brought their first ideas together and slowly developed them. The multiple Grammy Award winner Joachim Becker (producer for Joe Zawinul, among others) signed the band as executive producer for the planned album. Their  self-titled debut album was released in May 2021, accompanied by live performances that were wildly celebrated.

The second album “Enchantment Under The Sea” will be released in summer 2023. 

short biographies

Felix Lehrman, drums

Born in 1984, grew up in Berlin, has been one of the most versatile and sought-after German drummers since he was 17. He has already refined more than 250 studio albums with his playing. He currently plays with Till Brönner, Rebekka Bakken, Teddy Teclebrhan and the Martin Miller Session Band, among others. He has also been a permanent member of the Sarah Connor Band since 2008 and appears in numerous other bands and projects, including with/with China Moses, Dendemann, Nils Landgren, The Flower Kings and Jan Böhmermann. Clinic tours have taken him to Paris, London, Italy, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Spain and China.

Thomas Stieger, bass

Born in 1985, grew up in Breisach am Rhein, studied at the Jazz Institute in Berlin. He currently plays in the Wolfgang Haffner Trio. With him he also toured Europe in 2021 in the Wolfgang Haffner Dream Band together with Nils Landgren, Bill Evens, Randy Brecker and Christopher Dell. He also plays as a permanent member in the Sarah Connor Band and works with Ron Spielmann, Alma Naidu, Cory Wong and Gregory Porter, among others.

Felix Single kl
Thomas Single kl

Arto Makela, Guitar

Born in 1983, he grew up in Tampere/Finland. Since 2009 he lives in Leipzig/Germany. Arto studied at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University for Music and Theater in Leipzig with Werner Neumann. He is also a permanent member of the Sarah Connor Band and played numerous European tours with Ed Motta. He worked with Jimmy Somerville and Michael Patrick Kelly, among others, and as a musician and arranger with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Theater des Westens and Landestheater Gera, among others.

Raphael Meinhart, vibraphone, marimba and synths

Born in 1986, Raphael grew up in Graz/Austria. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (classical percussion) and at the University of the Arts in Berlin (jazz vibraphone). He realizes concerts and productions with his own projects such as “Unchain Meinhard” and the duo “Exit Universe” together with Susana Sawoff. Starring Takumi Motokawa and Shackleton feat. Heather Leigh he formed the ensemble “Tunes of NegaPon”. He is a founding member of the KIM-Collective for composed and improvised music in Berlin.

Arto Single kl
Raphael Single kl

Where else have you heard complex chords played so lightly that even let bluegrass, prog rock and pop shine through happily. 


Two Germans, an Austrian and a Finn met in Berlin to reroll the green lawn of jazz rock history.

Eclipsed Magazine

Watching Felix Lehrmann play the drums is like watching an impressive fireworks display. His playing is bursting with energy, virtuosity and self-confidence. Seemingly effortlessly, he moves through musically complex patterns with a high dynamic range, without losing out on playfulness and spontaneity.

Bonedo 05/21