Passport – Cross Collateral (1975)

FrontCover1Passport was a German jazz/fusion group formed in 1971. Founded by Ace Saxeman, composer and arranger Klaus Doldinger along with Curt Cress (percussion), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), and Wolfgang Schmid (bass & guitar). This was the classic lineup that started with their 4th album “Looking Thru” in 1973, their first US release. I’m not familiar with their first 3 albums, but outside Klaus, the lineup was pretty different. This classic lineup continued through the next 5 albums. Utilizing spacey electronic jazz with rock and classical styles, this group was very groundbreaking. Klaus has a knack for coming up with some of the most beautiful saxe melodies you ever heard.

Passport

Curt Cress was probably one of the first drummers to experiment with electronic drums. Bassist Wolfgang Schmid’s classical guitar adds a nice demension. And Kristian Schultze’s use of synth and mellotron gives them an expansive orchestral sound. After their 8th album, PASSPORT went through many different incarnations with only Klaus as the common denominator in all of them. In the 80’s, Klaus did other projects like motion picture soundtracks, most notably “Das Boot”. But PASSPORT still to this day records and performs (mostly in Europe, they came to the US only once) with various personnel. But it was the classic lineup that expanded their audience and gave them critical acclaim. (by progarchives)

Passport01

And here´s the 6th album:

Along with “Infinity Machine”, this is probably the best of the German Jazz-Rock (actually more Rock-Jazz) combo’s run of classic albums in the 1970s, all of them distinguished by the colorful surrealism of their cover art. PASSPORT was never in the same league as the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA or WEATHER REPORT (the latter in particular an obvious influence), but the group nevertheless managed to carve their own distinctive niche in an overcrowded market: no small accomplishment at the time.

I love the way that jittery opening sequencer pattern (in what sounds like a hellishly complex time signature) suddenly gels into the easy Space-Jazz swing of “Homunculus”, with Klaus Doldinger’s saxophone dancing gracefully around a sparkling electric piano solo. And the 13+ minute title track covers a lot of territory, working almost like a Beginner’s Guide medley to the music of PASSPORT.

Wolfgang Schmid & Klaus Doldinger:
SchmidDoldinger

In quick succession it moves from a kinetic start/stop introduction (featuring some primitive electronic percussion triggers) to a brief but lively drum solo by the incomparable Curt Cress, and from there into a relentless mid-tempo rocking section. A blast of rare high-amp electric guitar signals another change of pace, matching equal parts power and finesse before another saxophone freak-out reprise of the opening jam ends the track as it began: stopping on a dime.

Flipping the album over to Side Two (not recommended with a compact disc) doesn’t offer any immediate relief, throwing the unwary listener headlong into the full-throttle punch of “Jadoo”: three minutes of pure adrenalin guaranteed to raise your blood pressure a few notches. Kristian Schultze’s distorted electric piano solo is totally haywire, and the whole thing is propelled by the monster beat of Cress, again proving (and not for the first time) that he was one of the most dynamic and creative drummers of the decade…at least until he later briefly joined TRIUMVIRAT in their declining years.

Doldinger02

The rest of the album is almost a let-down after “Jadoo”: three tracks of pleasant instrumental music, played with Doldinger’s trademark melodic funk and flair, but still sounding tame after all the preceding fireworks. In retrospect, maybe the running order could have been rearranged to better effect.

PASSPORT was a band that was never about to change the world, but they did make it a more pleasant place to live for a while. This album would be an ideal introduction for newcomers, as easy as anywhere else in their long discography, but why not start at the top? (by Neumann)

BackCover1

Personnel:
Curt Cress (drums, percussion)
Klaus Doldinger (saxophone, synthesizer, piano, mellotron)
Wolfgang Schmid (bass, guitar)
Kristian Schultze (keyboards)
Curt Cress01Tracklist:
01.Homunculus 6.18
02. Cross-Collateral 13.33
03. Jadoo 3.09
04. Will-O‘-The Wisp 6.20
05. Albatros Song 5.22
06. Damals 4.50

Music composed by Klaus Doldinger

LabelA2

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Kristian Schultze02

More from Passport:
More

The official website:
Website

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